Moscow (AFP) – Belgium will “go for the throat” to kill off their World Cup tie against Tunisia early, defender Thomas Meunier promised Thursday, as they hope to pile pressure on England in the race for supremacy in Group G.
Belgium lead the group after a 3-0 win over Panama in their opening match, but only on goal difference after England downed Tunisia 2-1.
A strong result over Tunisia would up the ante on England to respond in kind against Panama a day later, setting up a blockbuster clash between the European sides in Kaliningrad on June 28 to top the standings.
Meunier was reluctant to look too far ahead at the England game, saying Belgium’s top priority was ensuring they advance to the last 16 with a win over Tunisia in Moscow on Saturday.
He said Belgium, ranked third in the world after only Germany and Brazil, wanted to impose themselves early against Tunisia, ranked 21.
“The best way to beat Tunisia, according to me, is to go for the throat, put the pressure right on,” he said.
“If you score in the first 15 minutes, then you can just control the rest of the game.”
Meunier said he expected all-out attack from Tunisia, who need a win to retain any realistic hope of qualifying for the knock-out phase for the first time in five finals appearances.
“They’ll come at us and try to win to stay in the competition,” the Paris Saint-Germain right-back said.
“We’ll have to be careful in defence.”
He was confident in the abilities of a star-studded squad that has been called Belgium’s “golden generation”, including the talents of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens.
“We must play our game and use our quality,” he said.
“We shouldn’t even bother what Tunisia wants to do, just put everything in and finish this game off as quickly as possible.”