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Dino Maamria talks to SSN about his love of English football

 
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Dino Maamria talks to SSN about his love of English football
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Dino Maamria talks to SSN about his love of English football and what to expect from Tunisia

 
3mbet When you are born in a tent in the deserts of north Africa, name your pet goat after Gary Lineker and then 46 years later find yourself managing in England, you are likely to believe that dreams really do come true. So, it is perhaps unsurprising that Stevenage's gregarious Tunisian manager Dino Maamria believes his adopted England can win the World Cup this summer. Maamria's love affair with English football began in the 1980s. He was a big fan of Bryan Robson at the 1982 World Cup and remembers watching Ian Rush's Liverpool dominate the old First Division, but it was Lineker who really made an impression.

"I had this little baby goat and I called it Gary because Gary Lineker in the 1986 World Cup was a real poacher and my goat was always next to the goal when I was playing football. I got quite friendly with him," Maamria said with a hearty laugh. After 23 years here, first as a player and now as a manager, Maamria says 'we' when talking about Gareth Southgate's team and as a true Anglophile will have a BBQ with friends when England take on Tunisia on June 18. "I want England to win the World Cup and Tunisia to qualify for the second round," he says. "I keep asking my little boy Leo 'who do you want to win?' and he keeps saying 'I want both to win' and I've told him both can't win.

"I think England are in a very good place to attack this World Cup and it is going to be very difficult for Tunisia, Belgium or anybody. I expect England to go all the way this year." Maamria's confidence stems from the time he has spent with Southgate, whom he encountered during the U21 Championships in 2015 when he was completing his UEFA pro-licence and had to do reports on the Young Lions' opponents. Subsequent run-ins and the development of the England team over the past year has only reinforced Maamria's belief that something special may happen in Russia. 3mbet

"Gareth is very good at what he does. I can see the change in the way the team play. We have more pace and aggression in attacking areas, especially with Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy's form," he continues. "We've had more talented teams over the past 20 years since I've been here, much better players like Steven Gerrard and the Golden Generation, but this group is more together and organised with Gareth. "They been together a long time and progressed through the ranks and that will give them the edge. There is a lot of positivity around them and that is going to take them a long way."

In contrast, the Tunisian camp is riddled with problems that Maamria knows only too well. "There is a big conflict as the manager Nabil Maloul is bringing in a lot of players who play outside of Tunisia and the public are not happy about that because they think there are better players in the Tunisian league than players who have got no connection with Tunisian football because they were born and played in France," he explains. "Also their best player - Youssef Msakni - is out of the World Cup; it's like Portugal without Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentina without Lionel Messi. So they will be relying heavily on Wahbi Khazri, who was at Sunderland a couple of years ago. 3mbet



 




Sam 19 Mai - 08:21 (2018)
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Sam 19 Mai - 08:21 (2018)
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