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Tunisia World Cup squad: Introducing the Carthage Eagles

15:08 GMT+3 22/11/2022
Mejbri, Khazri, Msakni
GOAL’s Ed Dove introduces the 26 men set to represent the North African heavyweights in Qatar
  • GK_Aymen Dahmen

    Aymen Dahmen

    Likely first choice, although he doesn’t convince all Tunisia fans.

    Dahmen did impress in the Kirin Cup, having fought his way back from a severe knee ligament injury, although the recent pummelling by Brazil may have dented some confidence.

  • DF_Montassar Talbi

    Montassar Talbi

    French-born central defender who has featured in Italy, Turkey and Russia since impressing with Esperance.

    He’s currently with Ligue 1 side FC Lorient, and is a likely defensive starter in the heart of the backline.

    Talbi netted his first international goal in the 5-1 mauling by Brazil in September.

  • DF_Dylan Bronn

    Dylan Bronn

    Italy-based defender who was raised in the south of France and qualifies for Tunisia via his month.

    He’s a gritty presence, although can be prone to glaring errors, but did net against Belgium in the last World Cup.

    Bronn is useful either in the centre of the defence or on the right.

  • DF_Ali Maaloul

    Ali Maaloul

    Experienced left-sider who’s firmly established himself as one of the best players based in Africa during his career.

    Currently with Egyptian giants Al-Ahly, he’s now 32, but brings immense experience to the table, having won two Caf Champions Leagues.

  • DF_Mohamed Drager

    Mohamed Drager

    Right-back who’s more effective going forward than he is reassuring defensively, Drager struggled to make his mark in the Championship with NottinghamForest last term, and is currently on loan in Switzerland.

  • MF_Ferjani Sassi

    Ferjani Sassi

    Deep-lying playmaker who never quite settled in France with FC Metz, but who has carved out an excellent career in North Africa and the Middle East.

    He scored against England at the World Cup four and a half years ago.

  • Tunisia's midfielder Aissa Laidouni

    Aissa Laidouni

    Midfield battler who’s being tipped for a big move to one of Europe’s major leagues next season.

    He’s a multi-time Hungarian champion with Ferencvaros, and also boasts technical qualities to complement his warrior-like qualities.

  • MF_Ellyes Skhiri

    Ellyes Skhiri

    Workaholic midfielder who led the Bundesliga by distance run by some way last season.

    At 27, he’s in his prime, and Skhiri needs to be at his best if the Eagles are to stand any chance of progressing from a tricky group.

  • FW_Youssef Msakni

    Youssef Msakni

    Tunisia’s star player, Msakni will be out to prove a point for the North African giants after missing out on the 2018 World Cup due to injury.

    On his day, he’s an inspirational leader for the Eagles, but can blow hot and cold.

  • FW_Wahbi Khazri

    Wahbi Khazri

    Things didn’t work out in the Premier League with Sunderland, but Khazri is one of the finest Tunisian players of his generation and remains the country’s most likely source of goals.

    He scored twice and registered two assists during the last World Cup, including in the victory over Panama—the Carthage Eagles’ first win in the competition since 1978.

  • FW_Seifeddine Jaziri

    Seifeddine Jaziri

    Star performer at the Arab Cup, where he won the Golden Boot, the 29-year-old has taken his game to new heights since signing for SC Zamalek in 2021.

    He’s capable of playing up top on his own and keeping an opposition defence busy.

  • GK_Aymen MATHLOUTHI

    Aymen Mathlouthi

    38-year-old stopper who was nowhere near the squad before being restored to the squad—at the expense of Mohamed Sedki Debchi—on the eve of the tournament.

    He featured in the 2-1 victory over Panama in Russia 2018, having been first choice for Tunisia for the preceding 10 years.

  • GK_Bechir Ben Said

    Bechir Ben Said

    Started for Tunisia during the Nations Cup and the World Cup playoffs, although he’s likely set to play second fiddle to Dahmen during the World Cup.

    His record with the Eagles—seven clean sheets in 10—is impressive.

  • GK_Mouez Hassen

    Mouez Hassen

    Former No. 1 who was once on the books of Southampton and is now back in his homeland with Club Africain.

    Hassen started Tunisia’s World Cup bout with England in Russia, but had to be replaced due to a dislocated shoulder. Unlikely to force his way back into the starting XI.

  • DF_Bilel Ifa

    Bilel Ifa

    Once destined for great things, and played for Tunisia at the Nations Cup a decade ago, but then spent eight years out of the team as his form deserted him.

    He looked the part at the Arab Cup, and subsequently forced his way into World Cup contention.

  • Yassine Meriah - tunisia - arab cup 2021

    Yassine Meriah

    A serious knee ligament injury in December looked to have put paid to his World Cup aspirations, but Meriah has battled back admirably and has returned to the fold after rediscovering his fitness and form with Esperance.

  • DF_Wajdi Kechrida

    Wajdi Kechrida

    Returned to the squad this year having previously been out of favour, although Kechrida was not expected to make the cut for Qatar.

    A move to Chris Coleman’s Atromitos during the summer permitted him to prove himself in the build-up to the tournament.

    He squeezed former Southampton full-back and new convert Yan Valery from the final squad.

  • DF_Ali Abdi

    Ali Abdi

    An ideal squad member, the Caen utility man can feature on either side of the defence or even in various midfield roles.

    He’s one of several players who has a point to prove after being overlooked for the 2018 World Cup squad.

  • DF_Nader Ghandri

    Nader Ghandri

    Defensive cover who, at 6’4, is a threat in both boxes.

    He’s back in Tunisia with domestic giants Club Africain, having failed to truly make the grade at various European outposts.

  • FW_Issam Jebali

    Isaam Jebali

    A talented forward operator who hasn’t always been given ample opportunity with the senior side, he’s spent most of his career in Scandinavia and is currently featuring in the Danish Superliga with Odense.

    His form in the Kirin Cup earlier this year could lead to a more prominent role in Qatar.

  • MF_Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane

    Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane

    One of the stars of the Tunisian top flight—and among the most well-rounded players currently based in Africa—Ben Romdhane can adopt a more defensive or offensive brief depending on the makeup of the midfield around him.

    Like Morocco goalkeeper Anas Zniti, he recently struggled with appendicitis, and there are doubts about whether he’s back to full sharpness.

    He appears to have the faith of head coach Jalel Kadri.

  • Ghaylen Chaaleli Tunisia

    Ghaylen Chaalali

    Energetic, well-rounded and disciplined central midfielder who is a veteran of the 2018 World Cup.

    He’s another who didn’t thrive in Europe—with Yeni Malatyaspor—but is a serial Tunisian league champion with Esperance.

  • MF_Hannibal Mejbri

    Hannibal Mejbri

    Manchester United wonderkid who’s currently on loan at Birmingham City in the Championship.

    He’s certainly one for the future, although despite being just 19, his aggression and technical prowess have led to calls for him to already become a regular starter.

  • FW_Anis Ben Slimane

    Anis Ben Slimane

    Another of the squad’s promising players, Ben Slimane—aged 21—has starred in the Danish top flight where he was a champion with Brondby last season.

    He’s excellent with the ball at his feet, capable of taking on and beating his man, and the one-time Arsenal transfer target could be one of Africa’s World Cup breakout stars.

  • FW_Taha Yassine Khenissi

    Taha Yassine Khenissi

    Veteran forward who returns to the squad after an extended absence from international duty, partly due to a six-month ban for a doping violation.

    Currently operating in the Kuwaiti top flight, he’s a workhorse in attack and is a useful aerial threat from set pieces.

  • FW_Naim Sliti

    Naim Sliti

    Dribbling sensation who can also offer a goal threat, Sliti may be criticised for his individualism sometimes, but he’s certainly a joy to watch.

    Previously impressive—sporadically—in Ligue 1, it remains to be seen if his threat has been dimmed by moving to the Saudi Arabia top flight since the last World Cup.