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Build on club success at country level
Consistency has been the key to success in recent times for Tunisia as they head to their third appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals. In Argentina in 1978, they became the first African country to win a game on soccer's greatest stage by beating Mexico 3-1 in Rosario, setting a new milestone for the continent and injecting new confidence in African football.
The North Africans went back to the FIFA World Cup finals in France four years ago and acquitted themselves admirably despite being drawn in a tough opening round group with Colombia, England and Romania. Many of those players will be back again to compete at the 2002 finals in Korea and Japan as the Tunisians have kept the core of a side, originally put together at under-23 level to compete at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Six years on, and the team has evolved into a highly efficient unit with high hopes of setting new standards when they play at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Veterans like goalkeeper-captain Chokri El Ouaer, Adel Sellimi and Sirajeddine Chihi are complimented by the youthful talent of Hassen Gabsi, Ali Zitouni and Ziad Jaziri, among the new stars of African football.
The Tunisians have been the dominant force in African club soccer for the last five years and are now seeking to establish the same reputation at national team level. There was just one hiccup for them during the qualifying campaign when coach Francesco Scoglio left to return to Italian football and had to be replaced by the German Eckhard Krautzen in the middle of the campaign. Krautzen departed after the successful conclusion of the qualifiers.
Significant past players:
Tarak Dhiab, Mohieddine Habita, Sadok Sassi, Hedi Benrekhissa, Adel Sellimi
Qualification 1978, 1998 FIFA World Cup finals
Qualification 1962, 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 African Cup of Nations finals
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