Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul is expected to use a group of foreign-born players mainly from France to strengthen Tunisia World Cup 2018 squad. Who is already on the list, and who is likely to join?
According to online sportsbook news in Tunisia, it has been 12 years since the Tunisian national team played in World Cup finals. They are returning this time as underdogs alongside England, Belgium and Panama in Group G. Nabil Maaloul – one of very few African coaches in charge of a national team – has set a plan to transform the team from a fairly dour, defensive outfit to one more willing to attack. To succeed in his campaign, Maaloul is using second-generation players, born and raised in France to make Tunisia World Cup 2018 squad competitive enough at the group stage.
It is largely expected that a quarter of Maaloul’s squad could be raised in France. Some of the players already made their Tunisian debut such as Wahbi Khazri of Rennes, Naim Saliti of Dijon, Anice Badri who plays in Tunis, and Syam Ben Youssef of Turkish club Kasimpasa. Thus, Maaloul’s lineup is not on its final shape, so who could join late to bridge the gap in quality.
Hamdi Harbaoui to replace Msakni
Tunisia’s creative forward Youssef Msakni has carried the team to their fifth World Cup, capped by a hat-trick in the penultimate qualifier in Guinea. Yet he picked up lately a cruciate knee ligament injury while playing for his Qatari club, preventing him from joining Tunisia World Cup 2018 squad.
The best choice to fill the gap of Msakni absence is the Belgian-based striker Hamdi Harbaoui, who burst on the international scene with Tunisia in 2012. He is already the top scorer at Belgian domestic League with 22 goals so far. His odds are (1.20) at Unibet Sportsbook to be called by Maaloul soon. Do you think he could carry Tunisia to the World Cup round 16 in Russia?
Tunisia World Cup 2018 squad is still defensively weak
Although Tunisia successfully came up with a clear sheet in their two international friendlies against Iran and Costa Rica in March, they still need to build the strongest back line. Nabil Maaloul must be over thinking on how not to concede many goals at the opening game by England’s Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, as well as in his second group game by Belgium’s Lukaku and Hazard.
Online betting sites in Tunisia expect to see the right back Dylan Bronn, another French-born newcomer to join the back line alongside the 22-year-old French-born Ellyes Skhiri. At Unibet Sportsbook the odds are (1.25) for Dylan Bronn to show up in Russia, although he has strong contenders including 24-year-old Yassine Meriah, Syam Ben Youssef and Mohamed Amine Ben Amor.