Tunisia World Cup 2022 squad: Final 26-man team announced

Tunisia World Cup 2022 squad
(Image credit: Getty)

The Tunisia World Cup 2022 squad has been announced, with manager Jalel Kadri selecting the 26 players he wants to take with him to Qatar. 

Tunisia are the flyweights who just love to knock out African football’s heavyweights. Despite a decrepit sporting infrastructure for a nation of just 12 million, the team rises above its limitations and employs teeth-grinding ‘grinta’ to regularly qualify for major tournaments.

This year’s version of the Eagles of Carthage is no different. Watch as they get stuck into tackles, win 50-50s and then roll around to convince referees they’re the victims – that is how they continue to punch above their weight.

If there's anything they need to learn from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup 2022, it's how to defend. After squeezing past a resilient Equatorial Guinea in the second round of qualifying, Tunisia won a two-legged play-off against Mali 1-0 on aggregate, thanks to an own goal. 

Most Tunisians were dismayed with the performances but the results showed that when the going gets tough, Tunisia park the bus. Effectively, too: they have kept clean sheets in more than half of their last 50 matches, and conceded only three goals in their first 12 fixtures of 2022. Then they lost 5-1 against Brazil. Ah.

Further to that, almost every Tunisian goalkeeper of late has coughed up an awful howler at a key moment. Newcomer Aymen Dahmen, a 25-year-old shot-stopper from Sfaxien, is the exception, but he only recently cemented his place in the team. Is it just a matter of time?

Beyond their staunch defending, this group has a wealth of experience. Youssef Msakni, Ali Maaloul, Wahbi Khazri – once of Sunderland – and Naim Sliti have played in multiple major tournaments. Collective calm is invaluable in the face of adversity.

Tunisia World Cup 2022 squad

Tunisia World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man squad

  • GK: Mouez Hassen (Club Africain)
  • GK: Aymen Dahmen (CS Sfaxien)
  • GK: Bechir Ben Said (US Monastir)
  • GK: Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile du Sahel)
  • DF: Bilel Ifa (Kuwait SC)
  • DF: Montassar Talbi (Lorient) 
  • DF: Yassine Meriah (Esperance de Tunis)
  • DF: Nader Ghandri (Club Africain)
  • DF: Dylan Bronn (Salernitana)
  • DF: Ali Maaloul (Al Ahly)
  • DF: Mohamed Drager (Luzern)
  • DF: Wajdi Kechrida (Atromitos) 
  • DF: Ali Abdi (Caen)
  • MF: Hannibal Mejbri (Birmingham City)
  • MF: Ferjani Sassi (Al-Duhail)
  • MF: Aissa Laidouni (Ferencvaros)
  • MF: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Esperance de Tunis)
  • MF: Ellyes Skhiri (Koln)
  • MF: Ghailene Chaalali (Esperance de Tunis)
  • MF: Anis Ben Slimane (Brondby)
  • FW: Youssef Msakni (Al-Arabi)
  • FW: Issam Jebali (OB)
  • FW: Wahbi Khazri (Montpellier)
  • FW: Taha Yassine Khenissi (Kuwait SC)
  • FW: Seifeddine Jaziri (Zamalek)
  • FW: Naim Sliti (Al-Ettifaq)

Tunisia top scorers

Tunisia are yet to score a goal. 

Tunisia yellow cards

1 yellow card: Taha Yassine Khenissi

Tunisia manager

Who is Tunisia's manager for the 2022 World Cup?

Jalel Kadri is one of two coaches at this World Cup (the other being Canada’s John Herdman) who was never a professional footballer. The 50-year-old’s pragmatic style as interim boss earned Tunisia a finals berth and himself the full-time job, and he is likely to take instruction from above in picking a squad and accommodating experienced pros.

Tunisia's star player

Who is Tunisia's best player?

A generational North African talent who never quite made it to Europe, Youssef Msakni has been Tunisia’s attacking heartbeat for a decade. It isn’t easy to tame ‘The Mongoose’, with his knack for scoring crucial goals. He missed Russia 2018 with a knee injury but will be in familiar surroundings here, after a decade of playing his club football in Qatar. 

How many players are Tunisia allowed to take to the 2022 World Cup?

National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic – while last year's Copa America allowed squads of 28 players.

Now it has been announced that 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.

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Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).

With contributions from