England, for a change, comes into World Cup under the radar

VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) — For once, there’s little hype surrounding England at the World Cup. Come to think of it, how could there be given England hasn’t won a World Cup match for nearly eight years?

But there’s a building sense of optimism that this young England team could produce some impressive performances in Russia, starting Monday against Tunisia in their opening Group G encounter in Volgograd.

The team has won plaudits for its positive approach in the warmup games and there’s widespread respect for coach Gareth Southgate. That was evident in the low-key way he went about picking his squad. Southgate has made it a priority of winning back the hearts and minds of the country during his time in the job.