FIFA World Cup 2018 team profile: Tunisia look to punch above their weight
Tunisia football team will be placed in a tough group alongside England, Panama and Belgium in the FIFA World Cup 2018.football Updated: Jun 12, 2018 16:37 IST
Head Coach: Nabil Maaloul
World Cup History: Qualified 4 times; best finish – Group Stage (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006)
Qualifying route: Topped one of the five African qualifying groups to seal an automatic berth for Russia.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Hassen, Aymen Mathlouthi; Defenders: Rami Bedoui, Yohan Benalouane, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn, Oussama Haddadi, Ali Maaloul, Yassine Meriah, Hamdi Nagguez; Midfielders: Anice Badri, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghaylene Chaalali, Ahmed Khalil, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti, Bassem Srarfi; Forwards: Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Saber Khalifa, Wahbi Khazri.
Tunisia return to the FIFA World Cup finals after a gap of 12 years having enjoyed a smooth sailing in the African qualifying groups. Playing in an easy group, they took 10 out of 12 points against Libya and Guinea. They faced tough competition from Democratic Republic of Congo, but in the end, emerged victorious with an aggregate of 4-3 to seal qualification.
The Eagles of Carthage’s World Cup campaign has got derailed even before its commencement with the team’s star player Youssef Msakni getting ruled out due to a ligament injury.
Coach Maaloul, though, has put together a well-spirited team that is capable of performing by punching above its weight. In Wahbi Khazri, they have a superb striker while winger Naim can also make a difference.
Wahbi Khazri: Khazri’s career at Sunderland may have nosedived following the club’s relegation from the Premier League, but he remains a go-to man for Tunisia. Especially in the absence of Msakni, he has to inspire others around him. The 27-year-old did well scoring nine goals at Rennes where he spent the season on loan from Sunderland. This will give him plenty of confidence going into Russia.
Mohamed Amine Ben Amor: A central figure for the Eagles of Carthage in the midfield, Ben Amor is well capable of tearing asunder opposition’ moves with his progressive passes. Though he comes with a bit of injury concern having undergone a surgery in April, the stage will inspire him to give his best.
Naim Sliti: In only two years of his international career, Sliti has made a name for himself playing from the left flanks for Tunisia. A dribbler par excellence, he is known for providing incisive passes. At 25, he is also in right kind of age to peak.