Tunisia completed their World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten and recorded 14 points in total. Though this is a wonderful feat, if you look through the Tunisian squad, you will realize that many of their players ply their trade on the African continent with a few well known players on the European stage. Former Sunderland player, Kazhri is the vice captain and enjoyed a good season in France with Staddes Rennes.
Tunisia have qualified for the World Cup on 5 previous occasions and bowed out at the group stage in each case. By beating Mexico 3-1 in 1978, they created history by becoming the first African country to win a World Cup match. Qualifying for Russia for relatively easy as they secured 14 points from a possible 18. Their most recent World Cup was in Germany 2006.
Nabil Maâloul’s side showed great versatility in their qualifying campaign. They switched between formations depending on the opponent they faced. They played a 4-3-3 system against DR Congo and switched to a 3-5-2 system against the same side when they wanted to avoid defeat. It is very likely that this versatility will be seen at the World Cup but based on the quality of their group opponent, they are likely to shape up in a 3-5-2 system,
Goalkeeper and captain Aymen Mathlouthi will have the responsibility of marshalling his defense. His experience will play a major role in his country’s hopes of making progress beyond the group stage. Maâloul, Meriah, Youssef and Nagguez are expected to form a back four if they set up in a 4-3-3 formation
Chalali, Ben Amor and Badri form the core of the midfield and can play as the three midfielders in a 4-3-3 or as part of a midfield five in a 3-5-2 formation.
In attack, household name Msakni and Kazhri will act as the teams offensive threats. Both are very fast and their ability to take up good attacking positions will enable the Tunisians effectively play on the counter-attack.
Tunisia should be able to ruffle a few feathers even if they fail to progress from their group.