Nothing to Lose
The 2022 World Cup will be Tunisia’s sixth. The Eagles of Carthage will be looking to rewrite history by advancing to the Round of 16 for the first time. It won’t be easy, though, at least not according to the soccer odds. They’re offering a +1400 price to win Group D.
The good news is that the pressure is on everyone’s side but them. Plus, they have a well-balanced team. Basically, the same that four years ago got the team’s first victory at a WC since 1978.
How Did They Get to Qatar 2022?
Tunisia is one of the five teams that will represent Africa in Qatar 2022. The Eagles of Carthage had no trouble winning Group B in the second round of the qualifiers. They finished with a 4-1-1 record, 11 goals for and only two against. Only Mali allowed less goals than them with zero.
Precisely, Tunisia and Mali met in the third and final round. The Eagles of Carthage won the first leg, on the road, 1-0 thanks to an own-goal scored by Moussa Sissako at 36 minutes. Four minutes later, Sissako was sent off. The second leg finished with a goalless draw.
Needless to say, goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said was the Most Valuable Player. Offensively, Wahbi Khazri led the team with three goals. That was one of the reasons why he was chosen as Tunisia’s Top Player.
Head Coach & Top Players
Jalel Kadri is a very experienced head coach whose career began in 2001. He became Tunisia’s head coach after the team lost in the quarterfinals of the 2021 African Cup of Nations against Burkina Faso. He replaced Mondher Kebaier, who was one of his mentors.
So far, he led the team to the 2022 WC and to win the 2022 Kirin Cup. That’s a friendly tournament organized by Japan in which they defeated Chile 2-0 and Japan 3-0.
Regarding the team’s top players, there’s not much to add. Ben Said currently plays for US Monastir. He won the Tunisian Cup and Super Cup in the 2019-20 season. Khazri currently plays for Montpellier. Overall, he has played 69 games for Tunisia and has scored 24 goals.
You might also want to keep an eye on Hannibal Mejbri and Omar Rekik, who are 19 and 20 years old. Mejbri belongs to Manchester United but plays for Birmingham City on a loan. As for Rekik, he plays for Sparta Rotterdam on a loan from Arsenal.
Tunisia in the 2022 World Cup
As mentioned before, Tunisia is in Group D. The Eagles of Carthage will face Denmark, Australia and France in that order. Facing the reigning champs will always be a nice challenge. As expected, Les Bleus are the betting online favorites to finish atop the group at -250. They’re followed by Denmark at +300 and Australia at +1000.
Individually, Khazri is among the candidates to win the Golden Boot. He’s not among the favorites and is offering a +20000 price, but still, that should be motivation enough for him to have a good tournament.
History of Tunisia & the World Cup
Tunisia’s first WC was in 1978, in which they finished with a 1-1-1 record. Later, they had to wait 20 years to return to soccer’s grandest stage. They qualified for the 1998, 2002 and 2006 editions, finishing all three with a 0-1-2 record.
Most recently, after missing the 2010 and 2014 editions, they qualified for Russia 2018. They put up a good fight against England but ended up losing 2-1. Later, Belgium had no mercy on them and crushed them 5-2. Finally, they defeated Panama 2-1 to finish in 24th place.
Khazri scored against Belgium and Panama. Those two goals placed him as Tunisia’s top scorer at the WC. He’s the only one that has scored more than one goal.