Tunisia: Three players to keep an eye on at the 2018 World Cup


Initial thoughts on the roster: Tunisia is bringing a very young side to Russia (no player has more than 50 caps) with what looks like the hope of building off of the experience.  Given that they will be facing the likes of Belgium and England, as well as very experienced Panama, it is difficult to see where they might have an advantage. Losing Youssef Msakni, their leading goal-scorer during qualification due to an injury really, really hurts this side.

Wahbi Khazri (Midfielder, 27, Sunderland)

Khazri is Tunisia’s captain and one of their most experienced players with 36 caps and 12 goals. Although his contract is with Sunderland he spent last season on loan with Rennes of Ligue 1 where he scored nine goals and helped them qualify for the Europa League. Sunderland is off to League One next season so Khazri will likely be looking for a way out of Tyneside, either back to Rennes or elsewhere. Leading a young, untested Tunisian side through Group G would certainly appeal to suitors.

Bassem Srarfi (Midfielder, 20, Nice)

Srarfi is one of French football’s top young midfielders, having made 28 appearances for Nice last season. In terms of his play with Tunisia head coach Naabil Maloul has had him play more in an attacking midfielder role which might be more out of necessity than fitting his skills set. With Nice he did grab three goals last season which seems to indicate that he can create attacking chances. Foot Mercato has reported that both Arsenal and Leicester City are interested in his services. No matter if he lives for parts outside of France or stays with new manager Patrick Vieira this is a big year for him and a quality campaign in Russia would get things off on the right foot.

Saber Khalifa (Forward, 31, Club Africain)

The former Marseille striker has made a name for himself back in Tunisia, scoring nine goals last season for Club Africain. He can create his own shot but is also able to move through tight spaces with relative ease. The question is now: can he score for the National Team? He hasn’t scored for Tunisia since September of 2016 which should alarm their supporters. But without another option up top he is their best possible chance at finding the back of the net.


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