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2022 World Cup: Country profile – Tunisia

Factfile on Tunisia, who are in World Cup Group D:

Best World Cup performance: First round in five appearances.

Other honours: African champions in 2004.

FIFA ranking: 30.

Main clubs: Club Africain, CS Sfaxien, Esperance, Etoile Sahel.

How they qualified: Tunisia defeated Mali in a play-off.

Coach: The enormity of the task facing Jalel Kadri was laid bare a month ago in Paris when record five-time world champions Brazil trounced Tunisia 5-1 in a warm-up match. “We know France is of the same quality as Brazil,” said the 50-year-old, with Denmark and Australia their other group rivals. “The World Cup draw has placed Tunisia in a very difficult section.” Kadri has been in charge since March after being promoted from an assistant role when Mondher Kebaier was sacked following an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals loss to Burkina Faso. In 20 years as a club coach, Kadri has worked in Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Key player: Youssef Msakni has been the mainstay of the Tunisian national team for more than a decade and will be desperate to impress in Qatar having missed the 2018 World Cup in Russia due to an ankle injury. His remarkable versatility enables him to play in his preferred position of winger, but also as a central striker, a midfielder and a left-back. Msakni spent seven seasons with two Tunisian clubs, including giants Esperance, before moving to Al Duhail in Qatar in 2013. The 32-year-old has since spent loan spells at Eupen in Belgium and with another Doha outfit, Al Arabi.  

Group fixtures

Nov 22: Denmark v Tunisia.

Nov 26: Tunisia v Australia.

Nov 30: Tunisia v France.


Goalkeepers: Aymen Dahmen (Club Sportif Sfaxien), Mouez Hassan (Club Africain), Bechir Ben Said (US Monastir), Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile du Sahel).

Defenders: Ali Abdi (Caen/FRA), Mohamed Drager (FC Luzern/SUI), Ali Maaloul (Al-Ahly/EGY), Wajdi Kechrida (Atromitos/GRE), Nader Ghandri (Club Africain), Yassine Meriah (Esperance), Bilel Ifa (Kuwait FC/KUW), Dylan Bronn (Salernitana/ITA), Montassar Talbi (Lorient/FRA).

Midfielders: Ellyes Skhiri (FC Cologne/GER), Ghaylen Chaalali (Esperance),  Aissa Laidouni (Ferencvaros/HUN), Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Esperance), Ferjani Sassi (Al-Duhail/QAT), Hannibal Mejbri (Birmingham/ENG).

Forwards: Youssef Msakni (Al-Arabi SC/QAT), Seifeddine Jaziri (Zamalek/EGY),  Naim Sliti (Ettifaq/KSA), Issam Jebali (Odense Boldklub/DEN), Taha Yassine Khenissi (Kuwait SC/KUW), Anis Ben Slimane (Brondby/DEN), Wahbi Khazri (Montpellier/FRA).

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