At 6-foot-1 Skhiri cuts an imposing figure in the defensive midfield, and is particularly adept at cutting off passing lanes and intercepting the ball. He’s not a very well-known player outside of France, but if there is anyone on this Tunisian squad who should be looking to show out and attract the attention of of bigger clubs around the world, it’s Skhiri. Look for him to be snapping into tackles at every opportunity, looking to prove that he can hang with the big boys that Belgium and England are going to throw his way.


Wahbi Khazri

Khazri is one of the few players on the Tunisian squad who has Premier League pedigree, though that pedigree comes from a few disappointing seasons playing for bum-ass Sunderland. After failing to impress as a winger at Sunderland, he was sent on loan to French side Rennes last season, where he underwent a revitalization of sorts.


The key to Khazri’s bounce-back season, in which he scored nine goals in 24 appearances, was a positional switch that saw him convert from a winger into a primary striker. The good news for Khazri is that he’s set up to keep riding the momentum of that switch into the World Cup. With alternative striking option Taha Yassine out with an injury, manager Nabil Maâloul has turned to Khazri and installed him as the team’s center forward.

With Msakni out, it will fall on Khazri to be the team’s brightest star. He’s unlikely to carry them to any sort of World Cup glory, but he is entering the tournament in great form and could very well bag a goal or two before things are said and done.


Another good reason to keep an eye on Khazri is that he’s a bit of a hothead. Here he is just straight up sucker-punching a guy during a game in 2016:

You can’t do that!

How They Play

Without Msakni, Tunisia don’t really have any choice but to pack it in and try to steal a game by getting everyone behind the ball and then hoping to snatch a goal or two on the counter attack.


Maâloul has recently opted for five defenders in qualifying matches, putting his team in a 5-3-2 formation that has yielded decent results. He’ll most likely stick with that formation in an effort to deal with all the attacking power that Belgium and England will be unleashing. They may be able to loosen things up against Panama, though, and switch back to a more classic 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.

Group G Fixtures

All times Eastern

June 18, Tunisia vs. England 2 p.m. at Volgograd Arena

June 23, Tunisia vs. Belgium 8 a.m. at Spartak Stadium

June 28, Tunisia vs. Panama 2 p.m. at Mordovia Arena