Looking to reach the knockout stages for the first time in their history, Tunisia are a side hoping to break new ground at the World Cup in Qatar.
This article was originally published on 20 September 2022
In what is a tough group it will be some accomplishment to reach the knockout stages but Tunisia will be aiming to become one of the big success stories from this winter's tournament.
|When:||20th November - 18th December 2022|
|How to watch:||All matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV|
|Odds:||Brazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Spain 8/1, Argentina 7/1|
Tunisia manager Jalel Kadri announced his final squad for the Qatar World Cup on November 14:
Tunisia took part in their first World Cup back in 1978 in Argentina and just missed out on reaching the knockout stages by a point.
A 3-1 win over Mexico in Rosario got the Eagles of Carthage off to a perfect start but a 1-0 defeat to Poland and a goalless draw with West Germany was cruelly not enough to see Tunisia finish in the top two of the group.
It was a further 20 years before Tunisia reached another World Cup as they made France 98, before qualifying for the following two tournaments in South Korea/Japan and Germany in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
Tunisia failed to record a win in any of those three World Cups and were sent packing early once again.
After missing out on South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014, their most recent appearance at a World Cup was in the last competition in Russia in 2018.
Tunisia were unfortunate not to get a draw in their opening game against England, as Harry Kane struck with a 91st minute goal to give the Three Lions a 2-1 win in Volograd.
A 5-2 defeat to Belgium was largely expected before Tunisia wrapped up the competition with a deserved 2-1 win over Panama. Again it was not enough to progress through a tough group.
|Group Stage||1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018|
In an altered system to qualifying for the African nations, Tunisia faced off against Mali in the third round to decide if they would be one of the five countries from the continent to reach the 2022 World Cup.
Tunisia managed to secure a 1-0 win on the road in Bamako in the first leg, thanks to an own goal from Mali midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who also was shown a red card in the encounter.
A goalless draw at the Stade Olympique Hamadi Agrebi in the second leg in Rades saw Tunisia secure their place at their sixth World Cup finals.
As mentioned, Tunisia find themselves in another tough pool as they go up against Australia, Denmark and France in Group D.
Tunisia begin the tournament on 22nd November at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan against Denmark.
The Tunisians are 13/2 to win, 11/4 to draw and 1/2 to lose their opener against the Danes.
Four days later at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Tunisia take on Australia in what looks a must-win game if they are to reach the knockouts.
The 30th November sees Tunisia back at the Education City Stadium for the daunting task of facing reigning world champions France.
Jalel Kadri is the current manager of Tunisia and was brought in at the start of this year after the Eagles of Carthage crashed out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-final stage at the hands of Burkina Faso.
The 50-year-old has managed the majority of his career domestically in Tunisia, while also having short spells in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
As the most experienced player and their leading goalscorer, captain Youssef Msakni would be considered the country's star man.
With 17 goals in his first 85 appearances for his country, Msakni currently plays his club football in Qatar at Doha outfit Al-Arabi.
A player who has been linked with the likes of Brighton, Everton and Newcastle United in the past, Msakni has never had the opportunity to test himself in the Premier League.
However, he is certainly a player to look out for and one Kadri will be hoping leads from the front in the clashes with Denmark, Australia and France, especially after missing the 2018 tournament through injury.
There's plenty of excitement growing around the future of Manchester United prospect Hannibal Mejbri at Old Trafford.
The 19-year-old was born in France but with Tunisian parents made the decision early to represent the Eagles of Carthage.
Midfielder Mejbri made his United debut in the final game of the 2020/21 Premier League season in a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Mejbri looks to be Tunisia's big hope for the future and will be hoping to force his way into the starting line-up on a regular basis in Qatar.
Tunisia predicted line-up (4-3-3): Bechir Ben Said; Mohamed Drager, Nader Ghandri, Montassar Talbi, Ali Maaloul; Aissa Laidouni, Hannibal Mejbri, Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane; Seifeddine Jaziri, Youssef Msakni, Naim Sliti.
Kadri likes to adopt a 4-3-3 formation and it's more than likely he will continue with the system in Qatar this winter.
Tunisia have proved to be a tough team to break down and their organisation without the ball will make life difficult for the other teams in their group.
With the likes of Msakni, Seifeddine Jaziri, Naim Sliti and Taha Yassine Khenissi as attacking options, Kadri will be hoping his side have enough firepower to cause the opposition problems on the counter attack.
It is a tough challenge that awaits the Tunisians in Qatar, especially with the defending champions in their group with Les Bleus and a Denmark side that are developing into a credible force after impressing at Euro 2020.
The opening game, as for all, will be vitally important for Tunisia. If they can sneak even a point against the Danes, then it will be all to play for in their big game against Australia.
It's hard to see Tunisia getting anything from their final game against France, so they will need to have points in the bag before then if they are to stand any chance of reaching those elusive knockout stages, with them 14/1 to top the pool.