Tunisia Warm Up At Winter Training Camp

By Three Lions
Last updated : 20 January 2018

England's first World Cup opponents, Tunisia, have just completed a 14-day get together in Qatar as they prepare for Russia 2018.

Coach Nabil Maaloul named a 26-strong party for the camp in Doha and spoke to the press about his preparations for facing Gareth Southgate's side.

“It’s a young team," he said of England.

"It’s changed in recent years. The kind of English football has changed a lot after they hired coaches like Guardiola or Conte. It’s a new kind of football, but we are going to be prepared."

Maaloul was capped 74 times for Tunisia as a player and spent time as assistant coach of the Carthage Eagles before a first spell in charge ended with a defeat by the Cape Verde Islands that looked to have ended qualification hopes for the 2014 World Cup (although Cape Verde were later thrown out and Tunisia lost the ensuing play-off).

Despite speculation that a bigger-name manager might be pursued by the Tunisian FA ahead of the tournament, it was confirmed late last year that Maaloul's contract had been extended until 2022.

In an interview with the official FIFA website, meanwhile, Tunisia midfielder Wahbi Khazri believes a first ever place in the knockout stages is within reach.

"Our first objective is to get past the group phase," said the Sunderland man, currently on loan at Rennes of Ligue 1.

"If we do that, then we'll be able to start dreaming.

"Our coaching staff know what they're doing and this is a fantastic generation of players. We're trying to play well because that's the most important thing."

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