An excerpt from The World Cup 2018 Book: Everything You Need to Know About the Soccer World Cup...
A Brief Team History
From 1930 to 1974, Tunisia didn’t compete in a World Cup. In 1978, they made their debut in Argentina, but didn’t get out of their group which consisted of Poland, West Germany, and Mexico. Their next World Cup was 1998, when they couldn’t get out of their group. The same occurred in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
During the African World Cup qualification games—referred to as “Preliminary Competition” by FIFA—the Tunisians got first in their group, which consisted of Congo DR, Libya, and Guinea.
Tunisia won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004. They won the Arab Nations Cup in 1963.
Facts About Their Country
Tunisia’s population is around 10.9 million people, with an estimated GDP of 42 billion. Tunisia’s most capped player is Radhi Jaidi, with 105. Celtia and Berber beer[ss1] are likely to make the rounds during Tunisia’s games, as people back home watch their team try for an upset in Russia.
Where the Team Is Today—Tactics and Strategies
Tunisia plays some hybrid of a 4-3-3. By design, or accidentally, they sway around, often keeping players close together like swarming sharks while sometimes forming a defensive backline of five defenders. While in possession of the ball, they sometimes leave three defenders back—usually while they’re in possession—and then as things progress, it all takes the shape of a 4-3-3, more or less.
Nabil Maaloul—A Brief Coaching Portrait
Nabil Maaloul took the responsibility of coaching in 2017. He coached the team before in 2013, while also serving as an assistant in the past. The Tunisian-born Maaloul also coached Kuwait from 2014-2017. With Tunisia, he’s inherited an uphill task, taking the team on during the end of qualifications, only one year before the World Cup. His vision should be to keep the team operating at a skillful level, with a bit of improvement on their short passing combinations—which fits their style—before they hit their stride in World Cup action.
Key Players and Their Characteristics
(Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ahmed Akaichi, and Taha Yassine Khenissi)
Mohamed Amine Ben Amor is an able-footed midfielder who joined Tunisia in 2015. He plays sturdy and relentless, holding the fort with good passes and thoughtful play.
Ahmed Akaichi, born in 1989, is a forward who’s played with Tunisia since 2010. He’s a serviceable attacking player that will bring experience and leadership, which will be valuable for the success of Tunisia’s efforts on the big stage.
Taha Yassine Khenissi, born in 1992, is a forward with quick moves around the box and a mind for scoring. Since joining Tunisia in 2013, he’s contributed toward their success and will be an asset with the team in Russia.
FOR FURTHER DETAIL and analysis on all 32 teams of World Cup 2018, the key players, coaches, and more, buy The World Cup 2018 Book: Everything You Need to Know About the Soccer World Cup.