TUNISIA – Tunisia rely on familiar venues and fans in bid to reach second round

Reading Time: 3 minutes

FIFA Ranking: 26

Odds: 300-1

Previous tournaments:

Tunisia have appeared in 5 World Cups. Although they never reached the second round, they recorded the first ever African victory in the World Cup in 1978, when they beat Mexico 3-1 in their first group match in Argentina before holding defending champions West Germany to a goalless draw.

Tunisia waited 40 years to win just their second World Cup game, when they defeated Panama four years ago in Russia.

How they qualified:

Tunisia cruised through the African qualifiers, winning four and drawing two in a group that also included Equatorial Guinea, Zambia and Mauritania. In the playoffs, Tunisia defeated Mali 1-0 on aggregate to reach their sixth World Cup.

Form guide:

After securing qualification comfortably in March, Tunisia started their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June with a home win over Equatorial Guinea and a draw against Botswana away from home.

They played another two games in June, defeating Chile 2-0 and Japan 3-0 in the Kirin Cup in Japan. They won again in the September friendly matches, defeating Comoros 1-0 before losing 5-1 to Brazil in France.

Tunisia rely on familiar venues and fans in bid to reach second round

Tunisia will rely on familiar stadiums and their passionate fans in Qatar to achieve what has eluded them in more than 40 years as they seek to reach the World Cup second round for the first time.

Qatar hosted the Arab Cup in December last year at the World Cup stadiums to serve as a test event for the finals, with Tunisia reaching the final before losing to Algeria.

During their run to the final, Tunisia benefited from their large fan base in Qatar – nearly 35,000 – which is expected to give them a home-like atmosphere when they face defending champions France, Denmark and Australia in Group D in their sixth World Cup appearance.

A runners-up spot at the Arab Cup did not spare Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier the axe as he lost his job in January after the Carthage Eagles were eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals.

His assistant, Jalel Kadri, took charge and led Tunisia to a place at the World Cup following a win over Mali in the African qualifiers playoffs.

Under Kadri, Tunisia achieved a series of good results before losing 5-1 against Brazil in a friendly in September.

Tunisia begin their campaign against Denmark and face Australia in their second game before concluding their group-stage campaign against France.

On paper, Tunisia’s realistic chance of grabbing only their third World Cup victory could come against Australia. They will also hope to spring some surprises against Denmark or France if they are to go through.

Team announced :

Aymen Dahmen, Bechir Ben Said, Aymen Mathlouthi, Mouez Hassen, Wajdi Kechrida, Mohamed Drager, Dylan Bronn, Nader Ghandri, Bilel Ifa, Yassine Meriah, Montassar Talbi, Ali Maaloul, Ali Abdi , Ghailene Chaalali, Aissa Laidouni, Eliyes Skhiri, Hannibal Mejbri, Ferjani Sassi, Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane , Wahbi Khazri, Youssef Msakni, Taha Yessine Khenissi, Issam Jebali, Seiffedine Jaziri, Anis Ben Slimane and Naim Sliti