Tunisia is back at the World Cup after their last appearance in 2006. They have it tough this time as they open their campaign against England before going on to play Belgium and then Panama. They are a compact group of players who defend deep and hold their own against big teams as shown in their recent International friendly matches before the World Cup 2018 as they held Ronaldo less Portugal to a 2-2 draw.
Key player: Wahbi Khazri
The 27-year-old midfielder has an impressive 2017-18 season on loan for League 1 side Rennes. He scored 11 goals in his 24 appearances for the club and has been capped 37 times by his country. Tunisia will look up to him to provide the attacking threat and take the game to the opposition.
Young player to watch out: Ellyes Skhiri
This 23-year-old defensive midfielder plays for League 1 side Montpellier and has a penchant to break up opposition play and recycle possession with his physical approach to the game. He is a regular for his club side and capped 4 times for his country. This World Cup could provide him with an opportunity to showcase his talents on the bigger stage to attract big clubs for his services.
World Cup predictions:
Let’s get real, in a group of England and Belgium nobody would give anyone else a chance of advancing further. But hey! England lost to Iceland in Euro, Tunisia held Portugal to a 2-2 draw and voila! Anything is possible in a World Cup. They have in them to cause a major setback in this World Cup.
Senegal could actually emulate Ghana from last World Cup and go until the Quarter Final of this edition. They possess quality attacking threat and are solid at the back. They would hope for a repeat of their 2002 edition run until Quarters and maybe go a step further to become the first African nation to play a World Cup semi-final.
Key player: Sadio Mane
Who else but him? He has been in red-hot form for Liverpool this season and formed a deadly trio of attack with Brazil’s Firmino and Egypt’s Mo Salah. Mane has become a cornerstone of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team and is the talisman of Senegal. The forward has scored 14 goals in 51 appearances for his country so far and there is every chance for him to add to this tally as he seeks to carry Senegal on his back to play further in the tournament.
Young player to watch out: Keita Balde
Balde was involved in a big move from Lazio to Monaco last season and impressed during his first season in France. This 23-year-old is a skillful attacker who is comfortable playing in both flanks. His partnership with Sadio Mane will be very important for Senegal to pose regular attacking threats.
World Cup predictions:
There are no clear favorites in Senegal’s group as they are drawn against Japan, Colombia, and Poland. Both Colombia and Poland would fancy their chances to advance further from this group but like recent World Cups, an African team could spring a surprise and advance until Quarter Finals. Senegal has the highest chances of all African teams to do so. Not Morocco, Tunisia, maybe Nigeria but not even Mo Salah’s Egypt. Senegal would very much rely on their superb attacking threat and defensive general in Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.