Team Profile - Tunisia

17 May 2018 09:23:02 EST

Coach: Nabil Maaloul
Number of World Cup Appearances: 4
Best World Cup Performance: Group stage: 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006
Number of World Cup Titles: 0
Qualifying Form: Second round - Played: 2, Won: 2, Drawn: 0, Lost: 0
Third round - Played: 6, Won: 4, Drawn: 2, Lost: 0
Overall - Played: 8, Won: 6, Drawn: 2, Lost: 0
Major Trophies: 1 (Africa Cup of Nations - 2004)
Most Capped (current) Player: Aymen Mathlouthi
Key Player at World Cup 2018: Wahbi Khazri

Lead-up to the Tournament:
Tunisia axed coach Henryk Kasperczak following last year's Africa Cup of Nations when they lost to Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals.

Nabil Maaloul took the reins and duly guided the Carthage Eagles through the remainder of qualifying - they went unbeaten and finished a point clear of the Democratic Republic of Congo in their group.

A goalless draw at home to Libya in November clinched a return to the finals after a 12-year absence, but the key result came in September when they fought back from 2-0 down with 13 minutes to go to draw 2-2 in Congo.

Those goals were two of only four conceded in the group stage and Tunisia's defensive strength has since been highlighted in 1-0 friendly wins over fellow qualifiers Iran and Costa Rica.

They have landed in a tough group, but Tunisia are unlikely to roll over for any of their foes, although they are 4/1 to progress to the knockout stages and 5/1 to be beaten in the last-16.

The Squad:
After Tunisia tried and failed to get Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder to commit to them - he didn't and has chosen to represent France instead - Youssef Mskani was expected to be Tunisia's star man.

However, a serious knee injury has ruled him out and therefore even more responsibility will fall on the shoulders on Wahbi Khazri to provide some much-needed creativity.

Crucial to Sunderland's Premier League survival in 2016, Khazri has spent this season on loan to French club Rennes.

Khazri can play wide, but is usually found in more central areas for his country and that allows attacking full-back Ali Maaloul to get forward.

18th June - England, Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
23rd June - Belgium, Spartak Stadium, Moscow
28th June - Panama, Mordovia Arena, Saransk

Provisional Squad:
Moez Ben Cherifia, Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Hassen, Aymen Mathlouthi.

Defenders: Rami Bedoui, Yohan Benalouane, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn, Khalil Chammam, Oussama Haddadi, Ali Maaloul, Yassine Meriah, Bilel Mohsni, Hamdi Nagguez.

Midfielders: Anice Badri , Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghaylene Chaalali, Ahmed Khalil, Saifeddine Khaoui, Mohamed Wael Larbi, Karim Laribi, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti, Bassem Srarfi.

Forwards: Ahmed Akaichi, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Saber Khalifa, Wahbi Khazri.

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