Profiles - World Cup Teams - Tunisia
Tunisia The only North African team to make it to this year's football festival, Tunisia remained unbeaten throughout an admittedly weak qualifying section, clinching a berth at the World Cup finals for the second straight time.

Considered by many as the weakest team to take part in this summer's tournament, Tunisia achieved their best World Cup result at the 1978 tournament where they shocked Mexico 3-1.

At France 1998, despite being pegged in a tricky group that included England, Romania and Colombia, the North Africans performed manfully and managed to gain a point from their final match with the South Americans.

Led by French coach Henry Michel, Tunisia had a dismal African Nations Cup in Mali earlier this year, being eliminated in the first round after two goalless draws with Senegal and Zambia and a 1-0 defeat to Egypt.

Particularly galling for Michel was the fact that Tunisia failed to score a single goal in all three matches, not the kind of statistic that will have Belgium, Russia and Japan in a state of panic ahead of their Group H encounters in June this year.

Michel, who had coaching experience at three previous World Cups with France (1986), Cameroon (1994) and Morocco (1998), had been expected to introduce a more attacking dimension to the team's play since talking over last November.

Hopefully for Tunisia's fans, the African Nation's Cup display was not an exhibition of his "attacking improvements."

Despite the poor performance in the African competition, Tunisia's football association has voiced its intention to allow Michel to lead the country through the 2004 African Nations Cup competition, set to be hosted on home soil. A repeat of this year's goalless, winless display in Mali may force them to reconsider.

Star Players

Despite performing sub par during Tunisia's qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup finals, Adel Sellimi's influence is undeniable.

Capped over 70 times, the reclusive Sellimi is one of the few Tunisian players to find success in European football and is currently enjoying his fourth year with German Bundesliga side SC Friedburg after spells with Nantes and Spanish second division outfit Real Jaen.

The 29-year-old forward was controversially dropped by Tunisia after refusing to join the national team in Spain to prepare for the African Nations Cup earlier this year.

This latest blow came after a disappointing World Cup qualifying tournament in which he failed to score and suffered the double indignity of missing a penalty before being red carded in a crucial home tie against the Ivory Coast.

However, with Tunisia failing to notch up a single strike in Sellimi's absence during the African tournament, the smart money is on him leading the North African's attack against Japan, Belgium and Russia this summer.

Should he manage to propel Tunisia to an unlikely last 16 spot, Sellimi may have to prepare himself for some additional unwanted attention. homepage