World Cup 2018 | Qualifying Team Guide | Tunisia

Returning to the World Cup for the first time since Germany 2006, Tunisia will compete in their fifth tournament at Russia 2018. Ranked 27th in the world, they join Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, and Senegal at the World Cup Finals 2018. Their aim this year will be to reach the knock-out stages for the first time in their history. But before we evaluate their chances, let’s have a look back at how they got through the Tunisia World Cup campaign began.

Tunisia World Cup

In this photo taken on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 Tunisia’s players pose for a group photo prior to their World Cup qualifying soccer match between Tunisia and Libya at the Rades stadium near Tunis, Tunisia. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi) @ Polfoto

Tunisia World Cup Qualifying Overview

‘The Eagles of Carthage’ had a fairly easy run through World Cup Qualifying. But they did it in style, going undefeated through two round of qualification.

In qualifying round two, they defeated Mauritania (ranked 99th in the world) 4-2 on aggregate, with no real worry. This saw them advance into the final group stage of the World Cup Qualifiers for African teams. In the group stages, they were faced with Libya (ranked 77th in the world), Guinea (ranked 66th in the world), and their toughest opponents: DR Congo (ranked 34th in the world). Only the top team in each African group would advance to the World Cup Finals, and so it seemed to be down to the two matches against DR Congo.

With this in mind, Tunisia utilised a counter attacking 4-3-3 formation against the DR Congo Leopards, in order to rule out defeat. This tactic proved successful, and they sealed a much needed win at home. For the return match, Tunisia opted for a more defensive 5-3-2, and were able to squeeze out a 2-2 draw. Against Guinea they once more used a 4-3-3 formation and came away with a resounding 4-3 win.

In their last match, only a point was needed from their home match against Libya. Using a 4-3-2-1 formation in order to stifle out any opposing attacks, The Eagles of Carthage forced a 0-0 draw that sent them to the World Cup Finals.

This flexibility of formation, and willingness to adopt different strategies and tempos was certainly a strong factor in their success during the World Cup Qualifiers.
The ability of the Tunisian players to perform under pressure was also impressive, especially during the away match against DR Congo. Trailing by two goals in the dying minutes of the game, they scored twice within three minutes to tie the game and take a vital point home.

Tunisia World Cup 2018 – Group G

Tunisia will need to utilise this flexibility to its fullest if they are to succeed at Russia 2018. In the group stages, they face England, Belgium, and Panama. While Panama are least favourite to lift the trophy at the World Cup 2018, England and Belgium simply outclass Tunisia on paper.

Their main hope will surely be to adopt a tactic similar to that executed so well by Iceland in Euro 2016, and to stifle any attacking flair from England or Belgium. We know from that tournament that England can suffer against such tactics at least.

Tunisia face England in their first match at 6pm (GMT) on the 18th June in Volgograd. They will then face Belgium at 12pm (GMT) on the 23rd June in Moscow. Against Panama (at 6pm (GMT) on the 28th June in Saransk) expect to see a more offensive approach from the Eagles of Carthage. If the World Cup Qualifiers taught us anything, they are likely to employ an attacking 4-3-3 formation, and look to be clinical with any opportunities they get.

The match against Panama will be Tunisia’s final group match at Russia 2018. If there is any chance of advancing to their first ever knock-out round of the World Cup, don’t expect Tunisia to leave anything on the field.

Tunisia World Cup – Key Players

Tunisia’s main weakness is surely their lack of top-quality stars. And their lack of players who are used to playing with and against the world’s best on a regular basis.
Marseille’s Aymen Abdennour will certainly provide some much-needed experience and class in the back row. This will certainly be needed against the likes of Eden Hazard and Harry Kane.

In terms of strikers, however, they are short of real world-class talent. Youssef Msakni is perhaps their best. He certainly had a very active and successful qualification campaign. He has scored seven international goals for Tunisia in the last 18 months. Three of these came in the 4-1 victory over Guinea. Perhaps better known to Premier League fans is Wahbi Khazri. He is on loan from Sunderland to Ligue 1 team Rennes. Although he had a tough time under David Moyes, and was not played as much as he might have hoped, he has had a successful year in France. He has netted four times in seven appearances in France, and scores (on average) once every three games. Tunisia will certainly hope that he can score in at least one of their group games.

With only two players having experience of top-flight football on a regular basis, it seems unlikely that Tunisia will be successful in reaching the knock-out stages for the first time. Stranger things have happened in the World Cup though. England and Belgium would be foolish to underestimate them.

Tunisia World Cup Odds

It is safe to say that the bookies are not expecting Tunisia to make a storm at Russia 2018. Apart from Panama and Saudi Arabia, they are least favourite to win the tournament.

Ladbrokes are offering 500/1 against Tunisia winning outright, with a bonus of a free bet up to £50 for new customers who deposit at least £5.william hill logo are also offering 500/1 against Tunisia winning, with £30 in free bets for new customers who bet £10. Betway Icon are laying 10/1 against Tunisia being the most successful African nation at Russia 2018. They have a special offer for new customers where they will match your deposit up to £30 in free bets. Lastly, 188Bet is offering odds of 14/1 against Tunisia reaching the quarter finals at this year’s World Cup Finals.

Event Selection Best Odds Brand
2018 World Cup Tunisia Win 500/1* Paddy Power logo
2018 World Cup Tunisia Win 500/1* ladbrokes logo
2018 World Cup Tunisia Win 500/1* william hill logo

*Odds at the time of writing. Subject to change.