Tunisia Players To Watch At The 2018 World Cup
England face Tunisia in their first match of the 2018 World Cup, with many expecting England to get an early 3 points on the board. Tunisia might seem like quite a weak team, but they are still ranked as FIFA’s 21st best team. After 2-2 draws against Turkey and, more impressively, Portugal, Tunisia aren’t at Russia just to make up the numbers. Bet UK are here to take a look at some of the players who might cause a bit of trouble for England come the 18th June. Bet UK have also got a dedicated match preview for England v Tunisia for you to feast your eyes on.
Wahbi Khazri is a name that is already recognised by English football fans, after spending 2 years at Sunderland. His time on Wearside wasn’t too successful and after the clubs relegation, he was loaned out to French club Rennes. In France, he scored 9 goals in 24 games and played a big part in helping Rennes climb up to 5th in Ligue 1. It’s no wonder that Khazri has been linked with a permanent move to the north of France, especially with Sunderland suffering another relegation in 2018.
Khazri is influential in everything that Tunisia do on an international level. He is their vice captain and has scored more goals than anyone else in the current squad. He may have just came back from a thigh injury but he is expected to start against England. Khazri can play just behind the striker or on either wing. With a wicked cross on him, you shouldn’t be surprised to see him on set piece duty throughout the World Cup. Khazri will take any chance he can get to curl a ball into the box, so England need to be on high alert throughout the match.
Dylan Bronn might not be a familiar game to anyone who doesn’t follow the Tunisian national team. However many Tunisians see him as the future of their defensive line up.Working his way through the lower divisions in France, Bronn first professional move was to Ligue 2 side Chamois Niortais. Initially starting in the reserves, Bronn was giving his chance in the first team due to injuries. Even though he was playing out of position slightly, he impressed enough to maintain his position in the team for the rest of the season. After a great debut season, the French side offered him a 3 year deal in 2016, but he eventually moved onto Belgian Pro League side Gent in 2017. In his debut season, he was played in his favoured right back position, playing 37 times and scoring 2 goals as Gent finished 4th in the league.
If he can carry on his club form when representing his country, then Bronn could have an impressive first international tournament. Typically playing as a right back for his national side, Bronn is dangerous going forward. If Wahbi Khazri is deployed as a right winger, the 2 could link up to potentially cause Danny Rose problems down England’s left hand side. Although he only has 4 caps, at just 22 years old, Bronn could be a mainstay in the Tunisian defence for years to come.
Aymen Mathlouthi is another name that is revered in Tunisia, but is rarely recognised in Europe. A legend in his home country, Mathlouthi is the current Tunisian captain and has played 70 times for his country. Also starring for his club side, Mathlouthi was a regular for Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel for 15 years. Appearing 278 times for the club, he won every possible trophy, even appearing in the Club World Cup in 2007. In 2018, he made the move to Saudi Arabia to sign for Al-Batin FC. Even at 33 years old, there’s no sign of his career ending anytime soon.
Mathlouthi is often referred to as the best Tunisian goalkeeper of all time, as well as one of the all time great African keepers. This will be his first World Cup appearance due to Tunisia’s absence from the competition since 2006, but Mathlouthi still has competition experience. He has been an ever present at the African Cup of Nations since 2008, although his team have never progressed past the Quarter Final stage. If Harry Kane has any chance of getting the 2018 Golden Boot, then he will need a goal or two in the opening match. But, Mathlouthi could be the man to break his, and all England hearts.