By Natasha Prior
Nickname: نسور قرطاج (‘Eagles of Carthage’)
World Cup appearances: 4
Coach: Nabil Maâloul
Maâloul replaced Henryk Kasperczak as head coach of Tunisia’s national team, with the Tunisian Football Federation appointing him in April 2017. This will be Maâloul third stint with the national team, serving as both a player in 1985 (earning 74 caps) and as an assistant coach in 2013. Former player Mourad Okbi will assist Maâloul in their return to the World Cup stage after a 12 year drought.
Captain: Aymen Mathlouthi
33-year-old goalkeeper Mathlouthi is one of the few players in the Tunisian squad with prior World Cup experience. Displaying agility in the air and bravery in tackles, Mathlouthi will play a major role in the organisation of the team on the field. The captain has high expectations that Tunisia will qualify to the round-of-16 in this World Cup.
Player to watch: Wahbi Khazri
Much of the attacking focus will be vice-captain Wahbi Khazri, who has been under an injury cloud leading into the World Cup. The striker, who plays his club football with Rennes in France’s Ligue 1, has composure on the ball and the ability to to make something out of nothing. Khazri has scored the highest number of goals (12) for Tunisia in the squad for Russia 2018, and will have to channel his fiery temper in order to create a positive outcome for his national team.
NowUC predictor: Group stage
While everybody loves an underdog, Tunisia won’t have much to play for after opening matches England and Belgium. They should be able to get past World Cup debutantes, Panama, in the final group match.
????⚪ Le sélectionneur national Nabil Maaloul a déclaré qu'aucun risque ne sera pris concernant Wahbi Khazri qui devrait donc manquer le dernier match de préparation face à l'Espagne demain. #CM2018 #Tunisie #TUNESP ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/1WenW1nrWD
— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) June 8, 2018
Wahbi Khazri will be Tunisia’s go-to man in attack.