Tunisia – Group G – Overview and Tunisia betting tips
Tunisia have qualified for their first World Cup since 2006 this summer and will be a name that England fans will be seeking to get to know all about having been drawn against the Three Lions. They have played against England before, back in France ’98 and it will be a major occasion for the CAF World Cup 2018 participant when the sides meet in Russia, as it will against the star-studded Belgium side that are also in the group.
Unfortunately for Tunisia their build up has been seriously harmed by bad injury news with key striker Youssef Msakni ruled out in April with a knee injury that will sideline him for six months. Nevertheless, they will relish their status as underdogs in the group, along with Panama, and will look to pull off what would be a major shock by advancing to the knockout stage. Here at OpenOdds we will give you all the Tunisia betting odds you need to know and how we think the World Cup 2018 Tunisia team will cope in Russia.
Tunisia prediction: How well will they do?
As we’ve briefly touched upon, the draw wasn’t kind to Tunisia so it is a massive ask for them to prolong their World Cup 2018 campaign beyond three games. Belgium and England are understandably hot favourites to advance from the group and you can’t really make a case for saying otherwise.
The only pleasing factor for Tunisia, and Panama for that matter, is the pressure that will be all on those two UEFA sides. They will both be expected to win and win rather comfortably. Therefore, Tunisia will be perfectly comfortable in sitting back and playing on the counter attack, forcing the other sides to make a move. As mentioned, the absence of Msakni is a big blow. He is a player that cost Qatar side Lekhwiya around £10m in the past and is an extremely prolific scorer at that level. More importantly, he was Tunisia’s top scorer in qualifying and was set to play a big role in Russia. That attacking responsibility will now shift to a man that English fans may remember – Wahbi Khazri who previously played for Sunderland. Whilst he didn’t convince in the Premier League, he has shone since moving to France with Rennes and has been key to their push for European football. He will head to the tournament in very good form.
Defensively, Aymen Abdennour who is on loan at Marseille from Valencia and Leicester City’s Yohan Benalouane are two other players that may be familiar to English fans. Ultimately though, there’s little chance of recommending punters to back Tunisia to advance as it seems highly unlikely. The reality is both Tunisia and Panama should lose to England and Belgium, making the game they play effectively a play-off to see who will finish third and fourth. Tunisia should have the quality to see off the CONCACAF side and 5/6 on them to finish third with Sky Bet looks decent value.
Best Odds Available at SkyBet
Journey to the World Cup — Who did Tunisia beat to qualify?
Tunisia performed very well in qualifying, going undefeated in a group containing Guinea, Libya and DR Congo, with the latter very strong opposition. They ended up with 14 points from their six games, one more than DR Congo, which was enough to book their place in Russia.
Qualifying from the African section is always tough with the away games particularly difficult so the fact they went unbeaten highlights the resilience and character they have in the side. Ultimately though, they are stepping up several levels when they take on England and Belgium so you can’t look too much into how they got there.
Best players for Tunisia: Who should you be betting on?
If things weren’t already bad enough for Tunisia with the absence of Msakni, their next best natural striker, Taha Yassine Khenissi, has also suffered with an injury. Whilst he hasn’t yet been ruled out of the tournament, he faces a race against time to be fit and it could seriously hinder their progress. With that in mind, Khazri may be required to play further forward than he would normally and will certainly have to become the main man in attack for the Tunisians.
Therefore, he is tempting at 6/1 with Bet Victor to be Tunisia’s top scorer at the tournament. He is also sure to take the set-pieces which is an important factor to consider in those markets. However, it’s also worth recommending a ‘No Tunisian goalscorer’ option, which is available at 5/1 with the same bookmakers.
These injuries have seriously blunted their attack and it’s very hard to see how they will score against England or Belgium. That would take it to the last game against Panama which is likely to be a dead-rubber at that time so it may not be played at the same intensity given the two tough challenges that have come in the days before. Therefore, backing no Tunisian scorer is worth considering.
Best Odds Available at BetVictor
Who manages Tunisia?
Nabil Maâloul is the Tunisia manager and has a wealth of experience heading into the showpiece event. The 55-year old enjoyed a successful career that saw him win 74 caps for his country in a ten-year spell that ended in 1995 and he has managed a range of club teams as well as Kuwait.
And, he’s actually in charge for his second spell at national team this time around having managed Tunisia for a short time in 2013. He resigned after failing to guide the country to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, he has done a lot more in his second spell and will become only the second Tunisian boss ever to manage at the finals when he takes charge in Russia.
Why bet on Tunisia?
In all honesty, there is very little reason to bet on this team at the World Cup 2018 although they shouldn’t get thrashed even by their high-quality group opponents. They displayed resilience and defensive quality in qualifying and they will be set up to make themselves very hard to beat and the determination and desire of the players to succeed will ensure they go down fighting.
Ultimately though, it’s all about the quality and you can’t make a case for them to finish in the top two or advancing from the group and that’s reflected in the odds. The only reason to get involved with Tunisia is to back them to finish above Panama which will likely be decided by the final game. Tunisia to finish third – 5/6.
Best Odds Available at Betway