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Tunisia dream big for Qatar World Cup 2022

Natalia Richardson

Updated: Oct 24, 2022 06:03

Tunisia dream big for Qatar


    Tunisia are in a tough group also comprising Denmark, France and Australia.

    Qatar 2022 marks the Eagles’ sixth World Cup

    We take a closer look at some of their key players and the coach’s methodology will introduce you the Tunisia national football team...

    The Tunisian team of today is entirely different from the one from Russia 2018. Under the guidance of a new-look technical leadership staff, the Carthage Eagles have completely changed as a team.

    Tunisia is in fantastic shape and has garnered praise for a run of standout performances in recent friendlies against formidable opposition. Qatar faces enormous expectations.

    However, it won't be at all easy to go to the knockout stages. World champions France, a talented Danish team, and Australia stand in their way.

    Tunisia's upcoming fixtures (all times local)

    November 22

    Denmark vs Tunisia (16:00, Education City Stadium)

    November 26

    Tunisia vs Australia (13:00, Al Janoub Stadium)

    November 30

    Tunisia vs France (18:00, Education City Stadium)

    Jalel Kadri: a master tactician

    Given that Kadri is a manager known for his preference for offensive football, it is not surprising that he uses a 4-3-3 configuration. However, the abundance of attacking skill at his disposal is the sole reason he is able to put this philosophy into practice.

    Youssef Maskni, Naim Sliti, and Seif El-Din Khawi's ideal offensive trifecta—combined with the tenacious midfielders Aissa Laidouni and Elias Skhiri—gives the coach a lot of choices for altering his team as necessary.

    In order to control the center of the field and neutralize any danger at its source, Kadri used a more defensive five-man midfield versus Chile, showcasing his versatility as a tactician.

    In a slightly unusual maneuver, he moved the wingers into full-back positions for the first of the two qualifiers against Mali to fortify the defense.

    Kadri, though, can be viewed as conservative in other ways. Since most of his replacements are like-for-like and he rarely modifies the play style without a strong reason, it is not in his nature to be overly adventurous with tactics.

    However, it might be claimed that his unrivaled understanding of Tunisian football is his greatest attribute. He worked for almost 20 years in the Tunisian league and numerous other Arab leagues before taking the position of national coach. He served as Nabil Maaloul's assistant coach for a few games in Tunisia in 2013, a role he took on again in June 2021, before being elevated to full-time coach following a productive stay.

    Player to watch: Ellyes Skhiri

    A crucial defensive cog in the midfield is an outstanding box-to-box midfielder. He can thwart attacks, win second balls, and intercept passes with an incredible accuracy.

    From his deep-lying position, he generates a lot of chances offensively with his long balls, making him more observant of opportunities than other players. His deadly long shots are another arrow in his quiver. With all of these qualities, he is essential to the construction of Kadri in any shape it may take.

    He generates 1.3 chances each game on average in the German Bundesliga, which is significant for someone playing in a deeper position. Additionally, he manages 3.7 interceptions on average every game.

    He made the decision to play for Tunisia rather than France when he was young, and he has since earned 48 international caps. When playing against players like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Christian Eriksen, Paul Pogba, and Eduardo Camavinga, among others, he will be crucial for the Tunisian midfield.

    Rising star: Hannibal Mejbri

    One of the most promising young football players in Tunisia is this 19-year-old. He declined the chance to play in the Premier League with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United in favor of gaining more playing time and securing his spot for Qatar 2022.

    The chance to see young Mejbri display his undeniable skill in front of the lights in Qatar's glittering stadiums is eagerly anticipated by fans.

    Although the player is renowned for his accurate long balls, his true strength is in his defensive performance, which he has regularly displayed with Birmingham this season. Attackers hardly ever manage to get past him since he excels at winning the second ball.

    He doesn't use his right-footed shot very much, but he has a nice one in his arsenal. He will be trying to establish himself as a mainstay in the midfield for the Red Devils upon his return to Old Trafford. If has a good World Cup campaign this winter, it will greatly aid this goal.

    Tunisia at the World Cup

    For Tunisia, this will be their sixth World Cup. They made their first appearance in the competition in 1978, the year they won their first World Cup game as the first African team. The historic victory over Mexico by the Carthage Eagles, 3-1, with goals from Ali Kaabi, Nejib Ghommidh, and Mokhtar Dhouieb, was the turning point in the match. A greater number of African teams participated in the competition as a result of this landmark event.

    Despite winning their opening game, the rest of the tournament disappointed, as they lost to Poland and drew with Germany. They left the competition one point short of placing in the top two.

    After that, there was a 20-year hiatus, during which time many other Arab and African teams prospered. When Tunisia returned to the World Cup in France in 1998, expectations were high, but results weren't quite spectacular. They were defeated by Colombia and England, and their only impressive performance against Romania was a dull 1-1 tie.

    For Tunisian supporters, World Cup attendance once became the norm. Their nation also competed in the Korea-Japan 2002 and Germany 2006 tournaments, making it the first time in their history that they had sent a team to three consecutive World Cups. Despite making it out of the Group Stage, neither 2002 nor 2006 can be considered a success because they did so twice. They placed last in their group in 2002, and they did not much better in 2006, only avoiding the wooden spoon thanks to a little higher goal differential than Saudi Arabia.

    Russia 2018 marked the return of the Carthage Eagles, and the team managed to register its first victory since 1978, but two disappointing losses against Belgium and England meant they could not quite reach the elusive knockout stages.

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