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World Cup: An in depth look at Tunisia


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A country which has in recent years been embroiled in conflict and crisis, a country severely divided. Now in 2018, the country is united behind the national football team in anticipation for their return to the world stage.

War and Turmoil, the 2011 Arab Spring uprising engulfed several parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Violence is still ever-present yet the entire country is looking with hope towards their national team, who have qualified for their first World Cup in 12 years. 

Tunisia are no strangers to the competition having first qualified 40 years ago in 1978, and then for three further tournaments in 1998, 2002 and 2006, yet the mood across the nation is very different now to those previous tournaments, in the light of recent political turmoil. Despite widespread unrest across the nation, football has retained a place in the hearts of the people, largely unaffected by violence and political self-interest. One Tunisian national speaking to the guardian stated: "the national team comes above all else."

Despite this new found unity, there is little belief in the current crop of national team players. They do not possess a star player which many of the teams partaking in the tournament do. Tunisia's team also possesses several French-born players, namely the Goalkeeper Mouez Hassen with whom many Tunisian's find it hard to support believing it is wrong to utilise foreign-born players within their national team.

In addition to this, there is also an underwhelming feeling towards the current national team manager Nabil Maaloui's, who by many Tunisians is viewed as being inept. Maaloui previously managed the Tunisian team for seven months in 2013 with little success, and many argue that he was only given a shock second chance due to his connections within the Tunisian Football Federation.

England can expect to face up to a well organized three-man defence to not dissimilar to their own formation, they will be difficult to break down but one would like to think if England are able to grab an early goal the Tunisians would capitulate. 

Overall on the World stage, Tunisia has not experienced great success with only one victory, their 3-1 win over Mexico in 1978, whereupon they became the first African Nation to win a game at a World Cup Finals. 

Tunisia are not going to set this tournament alight. It is hard to see anything but an English victory in their first game. Yet the Tunisia people for a period of two weeks will be once again united in support of their national team, ensuring the current political and economic problems are confined to the backburner. 

Image rights - Both images WIkimedia Commons

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