World Cup appearances: 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018
Finest end: Group stage (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018)
World Cup report: W2 D4 L9
Greatest win: 3-1 v Mexico (1978)
Participant to look at: Youssef Msakni
Group stage fixtures: Denmark (November 22), Australia (November 26), France (November 30)
If there have been a complete rating of the squad power of the 32 collaborating nations within the 2022 FIFA World Cup, there’s a good probability that many analysts would place Tunisia close to the very backside.
The North Africans don’t boast family names that your common soccer fan could be conversant in. As a substitute, Tunisia depends on intangibles to compensate for a supposed lack of expertise on paper.
“Grinta” (Italian for grit) has turn out to be the nationwide crew’s ethos and it completely encapsulates the underdog spirit the Tunisians embody on the pitch.
Traditionally, they’ve employed these intangibles to set off trailblazing accomplishments on the World Cup. As an illustration, Tunisia made historical past in 1978 by defeating Mexico 3-1 within the first match of the group phases, turning into the primary African or Arab nation to win a match at a World Cup.
Sadly, subsequent appearances on the match didn’t reside as much as these requirements that Tarek Dhiab’s golden technology set in Argentina. In reality, of the 5 African representatives in Qatar, Tunisia are the one ones which have by no means managed to get previous the group phases.
Supporters of the Carthage Eagles, who shall be quite a few in Qatar, perceive that they’re, as soon as once more, not favoured to qualify for the knockout phases. However, coach Jalel Kadri’s males is not going to curb their ambition and they are going to be a troublesome problem for Denmark, Austria and France in Group D.
Courting again to 2019, Tunisia has conceded about half a purpose per sport over a span of greater than 50 matches. The crew’s strengths are of their disciplined midfield. Aïssa Laïdouni and Ellyes Skhiri anchor the center of the pitch in holding roles and are greater than able to cleanly distributing possession to extra succesful attacking gamers.
Wahbi Khazri, Naim Sliti and Youssef Msakni compose a superb attacking entrance line with boatloads of expertise.
Msakni, specifically, will really feel that Qatar 2022 may very well be the crowning second of his profession.
After an illustrious membership profession again dwelling with Esperance de Tunis, he bucked all expectations by refusing a transfer to Europe in 2013, and preferring to as an alternative make the Qatar Stars League his dwelling.
Within the decade since his switch, the Tunisian maestro has gone on to turn out to be among the best gamers to ever grace the pitch in Qatar. Previous to the World Cup in 2018, Msakni suffered a debilitating knee harm that dominated him out of the competitors. 4 years later, his profession trajectory has come full circle and “the ferret”, as he’s recognized in Tunisia, appears able to put a bow on his profession by lastly serving to his nation to the knockout phases.
But, if Tunisia’s midfield is a transparent power, there are clear query marks relating to the crew’s goalkeeping. Aymen Dahmen, the 25-year-old CS Sfaxien netminder, has finished an OK job all through this calendar 12 months, however Tunisian goalkeepers have been infamous for producing embarrassing errors in current main tournaments, and Dahmen’s inexperience on this stage might unnerve supporters.
Tunisia additionally lack an out-and-out goal man. Khazri has deputised as a striker over the past three years, however the former Sunderland winger doesn’t have the dimensions to problem centre-halves within the air.
The ultimate and most problematic uncertainty with regard to the Tunisian nationwide crew is coach Kadri, who shall be certainly one of two coaches in Qatar which have by no means performed a kick of senior soccer within the first division in any nation (Canada’s John Herdman is the opposite).
Kadri is seen as a restricted supervisor that can accommodate the skilled gamers in his squad, take instruction from higher-ups within the federation, and in the end fail to implement the form of sport plans Tunisia would wish to upset the European heavyweights of their group.