WORLD Cup pedigree: This is Tunisia’s sixth World Cup after 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2018 but they have never gone past the group stage. The North Africans have played 15 World Cup games, winning two, with four draws and nine defeats.
Best performance: Their two wins came 40 years apart, beating Mexico 3-1 on their debut in 1978 with the second victory, a 2-1 triumph over Panama in Russia in 2018.
Star man: Wahbi Khazri -The French-born forward is one of the most experienced players in the squad, and this will be his second World Cup after Russia 2018. The 31-year-old is second on the list of Tunisia’s all-time top scorers with 24 goals. He is the player with the most World Cup goals for Tunisia after the two he scored in 2018.
Coach: Jalel Kadri -The 50-year-old was confirmed as Tunisia’s coach in January 2022 after previously serving as assistant to Mondher Kebaier. Kadri is vastly experienced, having coached over 20 clubs in the Middle East and prefers an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation against lesser teams but switches to 4-5-1 to gain more control in the midfield against tough opposition.
Squad: Led by captain Youssef Msakni (Al-Duhail), Tunisia has a good mix of youth and experience with striker Seifeddine Jaziri (top scorer at the 201 Arab Cup with four goals), midfielder Naim Sliti (Al-Ettifaq), right-back Mohamed Drager of Nottingham Forest (on loan at Swiss club Luzern), midfielder Ellyes Skhiri of FC Cologne, and Khazri, who plays for Montpellier in France, the senior players.
Generational talent: Manchester United’s Hannibal Mejbri has 18 caps at just 19 and is seen as the future, given how highly rated he is. The teenager, named United’s Reserve Player of the Year award in 2021, offers plenty of aggression, skill and tenacity.