Tunisia World Cup 2022 preview: Can Jalel Kadri make Tunisian history?


Tunisia will go into the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a shared aim in mind. This aim is to escape the group stage's, for the first time in the nation's history.

The nation from Africa, have been placed in group D for the group-stage of the tournament. They will be competing against three, very strong nation's including one of the early favourites for the tournament. 

Therefore, the group will feature Jalal Kadri's side, as well as Australia, Denmark and France. Tunisia begin against a strong Danish side, who reached the European Championship semi-final in their previous tournament, before facing Australia and then a very difficult French side. 

Unlike the European qualifying competition, Tunisia qualified for the tournament through the CAF (confederation of African football) pathway for the competition. 

In this, fifty-four nations from across Africa, compete in a three round qualifying section. The first round, features nations who weren't seeded for the second round. Therefore, as Tunisia are one of the stronger sides in this section, they were already seeded. 

Therefore, Tunisia entered the qualifiers in the second round, which was where the remaining nations were divided into group's of four, with only one nation per group going through to round three. Tunisia were drawn in group B, alongside Equatorial Guinea, Zambia and Mauritania. 

Despite being pressed to the limit, Jalal Kadri's side won their group, by picking up thirteen points from their six group matches. This included a double over Zambia and a strong three-nil win against the group runner-up Equatorial Guinea. 

Round three was the final round of the qualifiers, where the top ten sides were drawn out against another side, in two-legged matches. The winner in each match, would reach the World Cup whilst the other would be eliminated. 

Tunisia were drawn against Mali, which was a tough tie considering the opponent's remained unbeaten throughout the qualifiers. In the first leg, there wasn't much to split the two sides, except for a thirty-fourth minute own-goal from Mali defender Moussa Sissako. Therefore, going into the second leg, Tunisia had a one goal advantage, which they managed to hold-on to, which saw them qualify for their sixth FIFA World Cup. 

Curtesy of their one-nil victory against Mali, Tunisia reached their sixth World Cup in the nation's history. This mean's they have now qualified for five of the last seven tournaments, which is much improved considering their only other entry was back in 1978 in Argentina. 

In term's of international tournament success, Tunisia have picked up three different pieces of silverware, but their previous honour was over a decade ago in 2011. The nation are proud winners of the African Cup Of Nations, African Nations Championships and the FIFA Arab Cup. 

During their last international tournament, Tunisia reached the quarter-final stage of the African Cup Of Nations, only to lose to Burkina Faso. 

In the World Cup however, despite reaching the group-stages on five previous occasions, the nation have never managed to escape the group-stages. They have also only managed to win two combined matches in their history, their last came in the 2018 World Cup, against Panama and almost beat England if it wasn't for a ninety-first minute winner from Harry Kane. 

Tunisia aren't necessarily full of well-known footballers worldwide, but one name that English football fans will be familiar with is playmaker Wahbi Khazri, who currently play's his club football for French Ligue 1 side Montpellier.

The 31-year-old former Sunderland and Bordeaux winger is one of the nation's key players and is certainly someone that his teammates will be looking at for inspiration in Qatar. 

On the international stage, Khazri has earned a total of 71 caps for his country and has scored 24 goals in the process. He captained his side during their previous international tournament, and contributed to four of Tunisia's goal's at the 2018 World Cup. 

Going into the tournament, Khazri will be expected to be the star man for his country, and any goals could bring him closer to becoming the nation's all-time leading goal-scorer. If Tunisia are going to make history in Qatar, Khazri will definitely be one of the players that inspires his side. 

In recent matches ahead of the tournament in November, Tunisia have looked to adapt a 4-3-3 formation, but have rotated with certain position's in particular, so who exactly is likely to start in the opening group match?


The two most common goalkeeper's in recent matches are Aymen Dahmen or Bechir Ben Said. However, it is very likely that Dahmen will be the starting goalkeeper for the tournament. The 25-year-old has earned just four caps so far, but is slowly breaking through as one of the nation's best keeper's. 


In defence, 26-year-old right-back Mohamed Drager is expected to be the main man, earning over thirty caps for his country and started his side's previous friendly against Brazil. Elsewhere, Montassar Talbi and Dylan Bronn are expected to start at centre back. Talbi scored the only goal in the defeat last time out, whilst Bronn was sent off but his suspension shouldn't affect him starting in the opening group match at the tournament. Completing the defence is Ali Maaloul. 


If Tunisia stick with a three-man midfield Ferjani Sassi could be the first name on the team-sheet in that particular position. He is someone that can score goals and create chances for his nation. Elsewhere, Aissa Laidouni and Ellyes Skhiri are the more likely players to fill the final two available spaces, although Manchester United youngster Hannibal Majbri will certain have something to say about that. 


Scoring goals is essentially the only chance that Tunisia have of making history, but it's something that they are more than capable of doing. Wahbi Khazri is almost certain to start, and he will more likely fill in on the left-hand side of the front three. Taha Yassine Khenissi was the last forward player to score for Tunisia and he certainly will be knocking on the door, whilst Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Youssef Msakni and Seifeddine Jaziri are also likely to compete for the final spot in a packed front-three.

The biggest talking point for the Tunisian national team, ahead of the tournament has to be whether they can reach the knock-out stags for the very first time in the countries history. 

Despite failing to reach the semi-finals in the African Cup Of Nations, Tunisia have definitely improved as a nation, and their squad is showing signs of improvement. 

For example, at the 2018 World Cup, Tunisia secured their first victory as a nation since 1978, and finished narrowly behind both England and Belgium in the group stages. They also managed to score five goals in their three matches, which is the highest amount of goals they've ever scored in the tournament's history. 

Group D is going to be a very difficult group, especially given France and Denmark will bring their a-game and Australia won't be a push-over either but the one good thing going for the nation, is the climate. They are based closer to Qatar than their opponent's and their players will be used to playing in those kind of temperatures. 

Honestly, Tunisia will certainly have their work cut out for them at the World Cup, and even their a-game may not be good enough. France are one of the tournament's favourites and given their disappointing exit at the European Championship's, they will be out for revenge. Denmark produced a sensational run to the semi-final's before crashing out against England whilst Australia will go into the tournament, unbeaten in their last five international matches. 

They possess some decent players, however as a squad, the quality is lacking compared to their opponent's. The good news is their toughest game against France is their last match of the group stage, meaning if luck and results go their way, the game may become irrelevant and less pressurised.

The 2022 World Cup will certainly be a very tough competition for Tunisia, but they go into it with the least amount of pressure and sometimes, that can have a much bigger affect than meets the eye. 

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