In Argentina ’78 Tunisia made history by becoming the first African side to win a game at a FIFA World Cup with a 3-1 win over Mexico in Rosario. A performance credited to their superior speed and stamina as they came from behind.
They narrowly lost to Poland before battling to a 0-0 draw with West Germany – a result that unfortunately left them short of qualification for the next round. However they had impressed many observers.
Tunisia had to wait twenty years to make it back to the World Cup, but their performance in France 98 was disappointing as they fell to defeats by England and Colombia before drawing with Romania.
Again in 2002 they only grabbed one point from three matches in a group containing hosts Japan, Russia and Belgium.
There was hope that 2006 would be different as they were placed in a group with Saudi Arabia and Ukraine – two nations they thought they could beat. However, despite taking the lead against the Saudis, they needed an injury time equaliser just to salvage a point.
Next up was Spain.
On the 8th minute, Tunisia took a shock lead:
What Happened Next?
They held on one hour before it all went wrong. Raul equalised on the 71st minute before a Fernando Torres brace sealed the game for Spain.
A 1-0 to defeat to Ukraine saw them exit the World Cup with a familiar record of one point from three matches.
Tunisia failed to make it to South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, but they will be in Russia this year.