- Issam Jemaa – Goals: 36
- Wahbi Khazri – Goals: 24
- Francileudo Santos – Goals: 21
- Adel Sellimi – Goals: 20
- Faouzi Rouissi – Goals: 18
Tunisia National Football Team History
As soon as Tunisia gained independence from France in 1956 they set up a football federation to create a national team. The Tunisia national football team played its first official match in 1957 and defeated Libya in the Pan Arab Games.
Africa Cup of Nations: First Major Tournament
Tunisia’s first major tournament was at the 1962 Africa Cup of Nations and they finished in third place. Three years later, they were runners up as they lost to Ghana in the final in extra time.
One of the best years in Tunisian soccer history, 1978 marked the first Tunisia FIFA World Cup appearance. Earlier that year, Tunisia, led by players like Tarak Dhiab, Nejib Ghommidh and Mokhtar Dhouib, were also semifinalists at the Africa Cup of Nations; still, the Eagles of Carthage didn’t make it out of the group stage at the World Cup.
First African Team to Win a World Cup Match
The Tunisia national football team became the first African team to win a match at the World Cup by defeating Mexico 3-1. A rough patch followed, however, as Tunisia only qualified for two tournaments between 1980 and 1992.
Former Ivory Coast coach Henryk Kasperczak was hired in 1994 and the national team started performing again. Tunisia national football team made the finals of the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and qualified for their first World Cup in 20 years in 1998.
There, they failed to win a match and Kasperczak was promptly replaced. With a couple of coaching changes in between, Tunisia national football team managed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. They drew with Belgium but lost to both Russia and Japan in a group stage exit.
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Two years later, the Eagles of Carthage won their first ever major trophy at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations under Roger Lemerre. Francileudo Santos scored three group stage goals, since hosts Tunisia went 2-0-1 and topped Group A. A Jahwar Mnari goal knocked out 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists Senegal in the quarterfinals.
It took penalties to knock out Jay-Jay Okocha and Nigeria in the semifinals. Then, Tunisia beat Morocco 2-1 for a well deserved trophy. As a result, they participated in the 2005 Confederations Cup but were eliminated in the group stage.
Third World-Cup Qualification
The Tunisia national football team qualified for a third consecutive World Cup in 2006 but lost 1-0 to Ukraine in the final match for another group stage exit. Another dry spell followed, but a resurgent Tunisia rose all the way to 14th in the FIFA World Rankings in 2018.
That meant expectations were high ahead of the 2018 World Cup. In Russia, they defeated Panama but fell to both England and Belgium. The 2-1 win over Panama was their first World Cup win for 40 years.
They qualified for Qatar 2022, which is their sixth World Cup; Tunisia are in Group D with world champions Australia, France and Denmark.
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