|Ali Boumnijel||Goalkeeper||Club Africain|
|Adel Nefzi||Goalkeeper||US Monastir|
|Anis Ayari||Defender||Samsunspor (Turkey)|
|Karim Hagui||Defender||Racing Strasbourg (France)|
|Radhi Jaidi||Defender||Bolton Wanderers (England)|
|David Jemmali||Defender||Girondins Bordeaux (France)|
|Mehdi Meryeh||Defender||Etoile Etoile|
|Karim Saidi||Defender||Lecce (Italy)|
|Hatem Trabelsi||Defender||Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands)|
|Alaeddine Yahia||Defender||St Etienne (France)|
|Riadh Bouazizi||Midfielder||Erciyespor (Turkey)|
|Adel Chedli||Midfielder||Nuremberg (Germany)|
|Karim Essediri||Midfielder||Rosenborg (Norway)|
|Kais Ghodhbane||Midfielder||Konyaspor (Turkey)|
|Joahar Mnari||Midfielder||Nuremberg (Germany)|
|Mehdi Nafti||Midfielder||Birmingham City (England)|
|Hamed Namouchi||Midfielder||Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)|
|Yassine Chikhaoui||Forward||Etoile Etoile|
|Ziad Jaziri||Forward||Troyes (France)|
|Issam Jomaa||Forward||Racing Lens (France)|
|Sofiane Militi||Forward||Gaziantepspor (Turkey)|
|Head Coach:||Roger Lemerre|
Style of play: French coach Roger Lemerre employs a traditional 4-4-2 formation. Tunisia uses conservative ball movement and relies on the counterattack for the majority of its scoring chances. Lemerre stresses defensive stability, although right fullback Hatem Trabelsi is a terror when he bombs forward in support of the attack. Trabelsi is a real livewire and sets up many of Tunisia's scoring opportunities with his probing runs down the wings that see him cut into the middle before finding an open teammate. Captain Riadh Bouazizi and Kais Ghodhbane take care of defensive duties in the midfield, while Adel Chedli is the offensive creator, using his strength and stamina to bully his way up the middle of the field. Brazilian-born Santos is the main striker, playing just ahead of the other forward, usually Ziad Jaziri. Santos's speed is a perfect fit for Tunisia's counterattacking style.
Probable starting formation (4-4-2): (GK) Ali Boumnijel - (D) Hatem Trabelsi, Radhi Jaidi, Anis Ayari, Karim Hagui - (M) Riadh Bouazizi, Adel Chedli, Kais Ghodhbane, Hamed Namouchi - (F) Santos, Ziad Jaziri
Recent form - Tunisia has asserted itself as one of Africa's top teams the last few years. They won the African Nations Cup on home soil two years ago and made a very respectable quarter-final run in this year's tournament back in January. Most impressive was their play in the World Cup qualifiers, beating out northern African neighbours Morocco to win their group.
Coaching - In Roger Lemerre, Tunisia has a coach with wealth of international experience and a winning track record. Lemerre was an assistant on Aime Jacquet's French team that won the 1998 World Cup. Lemerre then took over for Jacquet and led France to victory at Euro 2000. He also guided Tunisia to its first African Nations Cup title in 2004.
Team unity - The core of Tunisia's side is comprised of players who made the trip to the World Cup finals four years ago, with some fresh new talent thrown in. Since taking over as coach in 2002, Lemerre has turned Tunisia into a well-disciplined, tight and hard-working side. Spirit and unity won't be a problem as Lemerre has his players believing in him and themselves.
Scoring - As talented as Brazilian-born striker Santos is, he can't be expected to carry the goal-scoring burden by himself. Unfortunately, he often does. Tunisia relies on the fleet-footed goal-maker far too much, as they don't have another striker of his quality that they can partner him up with. If Tunisia can't get any secondary scoring, they're doomed.
Lack of midfield creativity - Tunisia doesn't have a midfield playmaker that it can turn to organize the attack and set up teammates with scoring chances. The bulk of Tunisia's midfield players are defensive-minded, but they possess precious little attacking imagination. Right fullback Hatem Trabelsi is dangerous down the wings, but Tunisia can not just rely on him to provide service for the strikers. Others need to contribute.
Goalkeeping - Ali Boumnijel brings a lot of excitement and passion to the team, but at 41 years old, he is clearly not as athletic and nimble as he once was, and is past his prime. Unfortunately, Tunisia is forced to go with him as their starter as they have no reliable backup waiting in the wings - Hamdi Kasraoui and Adel Nefzi have only played a small handful of games between them.
Players to watch:
Santos - The Brazil-born striker is Tunisia's main scoring threat and is absolutely vital to the team - he bagged six goals in the qualifiers. He spearheads the attack with his fantastic dribbling skills and speed which he uses to torment opposing defenders. An explosive goal scorer.
Riadh Bouazizi - The 33-year-old captain is the veteran of the side, having appeared in over 80 games for the national team. Not flashy by any stretch of the imagination, but he's a combative defensive midfielder who controls the middle of the field with his tough tackling and physical play. A very good ball winner who helps shield the defence.
Hatem Trabelsi - A highly-sought after right fullback who plays for Dutch team Ajax Amsterdam - clubs such as Juventus, Arsenal and Real Madrid are reportedly lining up bids to buy out his contract. Regarded among the best right backs in the world, Trabelsi uses his speed and agility down the flanks to help direct the team's attack.
Key injuries/squad omissions: Tunisia applied to select France-born midfielder Nabil Taider but was turned down by FIFA. The 22-year-old Taider could have played for Tunisia, the birth nation of his parents, but players are required to declare which nation they want to represent before turning 21. Midfielder Hamed Namouchi is coming off an ankle injury. Defender Mehdi Meryeh and striker Yassine Chikhaoui were surprise selections as neither one has played a game for the national team.
Prognosis: Of the five African nations going to Germany, four will be playing in a World Cup for the first time. African powers such as Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco failed to qualify which means Tunisia, the current African Nations Cup holder, is the only African team headed to Germany with previous World Cup experience. Tunisia's record, however, is not all the impressive, as the northern African country has yet to make it out of the first round in three World Cup appearances. Could that change in 2006? It's possible. Saudi Arabia can't be taken too seriously, Spain is always bedevilled by consistency problems and Ukraine is making its World Cup debut. They have a solid talent base to finish second in Group H and they are hungry, but expect Tunisia to finish third and miss out on advancing to the second round for a fourth time.
Road to the World Cup
Current FIFA Ranking: #21
1st round matches:
June 14 vs. Saudi Arabia in Munich
June 19 vs. Spain in Stuttgart
June 23 vs. Ukraine in Berlin
2006 qualification route: Tunisia finished in first place (21 points)
in Africa's Group 5 ahead of Morocco (20 points).
Qualifying record: 10 games played, 6 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss
Goals for: 25 Goals against: 9
Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Santos (6)
Qualifying results: (home team listed first)
June 5, 2004 - Tunisia 4, Botswana 1
June 20, 2004 - Guinea 2, Tunisia 1
Sept. 4, 2004 - Morocco 1, Tunisia 1
Oct. 9, 2004 - Malawi 2, Tunisia 2
March 26, 2005 - Tunisia 7, Malawi 0
June 4, 2005 - Botswana 1, Tunisia 3
June 11, 2005 - Tunisia 2, Guinea 0
Aug. 17, 2005 - Tunisia 1, Kenya 0
Sept. 3, 2005 - Kenya 0, Tunisia 2
Oct. 8, 2005 - Tunisia 2, Morocco 2
World Cup History
FIFA member since: 1960
Team nickname: Les Aigles de Carthage (The Eagles of Carthage)
Number of Previous World Cup Appearances: 3
All-time record: 9 games played, 1 win, 3 draws, 5 losses
Goals for: 5 Goals against: 11
World Cup History:
1930 to1958 - Did not enter
1962 - Did not qualify
1966 - Did not enter
1970 - Did not qualify
1974 - Did not qualify
1978 - First round
1982 to 1994 - Did not qualify
1998 - First round
2002 - First round
Biggest victory: 3-1 vs. Mexico in 1978
Biggest defeat: 2-0 vs. England in 1998, 2-0 vs. Russia and Japan in 2002
Overall top scorer: Five players tied with 1 goal
Most appearances: Zoubier Baya (six matches)
Hosted the World Cup: Never
African Nations Cup Champions: 2004
Zoubeir Baya: Generally considered Tunisia's greatest soccer export. An attacking midfielder of great acclaim, Baya made a name for himself in the late 1990s during a four-year stint with German club SC Freiburg and later with Besiktas in Turkey. A key member of the Tunisian team that qualified for the 2002 World Cup - he scored eight goals in the qualifiers.
Tarak Dhiab: Dhiab was voted African player of the year in 1977 and played a pivotal role in helping Tunisia qualify for its first World Cup in 1978 in Argentina.