The Tunisia national football team will take part in the FIFA World Cup for the fifth time. The Tunisians secured their berth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia as the Group A winner in the African World Cup qualification. “The Eagles of Carthage” perfectly performed in the qualification where they won four victories in six rounds and drew twice.
The Tunisia national team took part in four World Cups, and all four times couldn’t overcome group stages. For the first time Tunisia was qualified for the 1978 World Cup. The debut tournament turned out successful for “The Eagles of Carthage”. In their first World Cup match Tunisia won a confident victory over the Mexico national football team, 3:1. Unfortunately, in the second round North Africans lost to the Poland 0:1 that practically stripped them of chances to get into quarterfinal. Also, a draw in the last round against the Germany national football team can go to the asset of the Tunisians. They ended up with one victory, one draw, one defeat and the third place in the group. Not bad for the debutant.
Next time, Tunisia national football team got to the World Cup only twenty years later. However, Tunisia took part in three following tournaments and became one of the leading national teams on the African continent for 12 years. The 1998 World Cup France brought “The Eagles of Carthage” no positive emotions. Tunisia lost twice in the first two rounds, scored no goal into the nets of England and Colombia (0:2 and 0:1 respectively). Only in the last round Tunisia managed to draw against Romania, but it made no difference.
Also, “The Eagles of Carthage” failed miserably the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. They twice lost at the group stage with the score 0:2 (Russia and Japan) and drew 1:1 against Belgium, and again hopelessly took the last place in the group.
The next disappointment of the Tunisians happened in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. The group opponents looked quite “go-through” (Spain, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia). If the Spaniards were obvious favourites of the group, the three remained teams had approximately equal chances for the second berth at the play-offs. Alas, but Tunisia was very weak again. After a draw in the first round (2:2 against Saudi Arabia) chances to get into round of last 16 still remained, but Tunisia lost the next two games — defeat 1:3 from the Spain national football team and 0:1 from Ukraine.
Thus, all four participations of the Tunisia national football team in the World Cups brought no success. Only in their debut tournament, “The Eagles of Carthage” could win one match. In the other three World Cups Tunisia was limited to the only gained point.
Tunisia has one important achievement. In 2004, North Africans could win the home African Cup of Nations. In the final Tunisia outplayed the Morocco team which also goes to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Success in the home CAN is the only trophy of the Tunisia national football team so far. Two other times “The Eagles of Carthage” reached the final of the African Cup of Nations — in 1965 and 1996.
The squad of the Tunisia national football team cannot make glad with known names. Most team players represent the local championship or clubs of the French League 1. However, perhaps, this is a chance of Tunisia — the team is a “dark horse”, we know the national team players not so good as footballers of the European clubs, and opponents may underestimate Tunisia. Perhaps, at the fifth attempt Tunisia will manage to break through and to get into play-offs.