The France-Tunisia match - Wednesday - appears as part of the third round of Group Four for the account of the first round, a match for the roosters who were the first team to reserve the ticket for the final price of the World Cup Qatar 2022, but it is fateful for the Carthage Eagles who are still chasing little hope of reaching the same round for the time. The first in the history of their participation in the World Cup.
The confrontation that takes place at the Education City stadium has many historical dimensions, as it puts two teams face to face with a strong relationship, but the French colonial history of Tunisia has often cast a heavy shadow over the confrontations that bring together the Eagles of Carthage with the roosters in both official and friendly matches.
And while France’s first experience in facing one of its former colonies in the FIFA World Cup ended bitterly, when the then-defending champion (1998) lost 1-0 to Senegal in the opening match of the “South Korea and Japan 2002” version, and the tournament was deposited in the first round, the confrontation with Tunisia It comes in a different context, but the ongoing debate about colonial history gives it more excitement and privacy.
Exciting encounters and a close relationship
Tunisia and France have never met in the World Cup competition, but the friendly confrontations that brought them together were always full of suspense, and an occasion to stir up the colonial past (politically), and to renew the debate about France's endeavor to include Tunisian players born and raised in the European country, the latest of whom is Hannibal Al-Majbri, the midfield of Birmingham City. English.
Tunisia has never defeated France in the history of the two teams' confrontations, but it achieved a draw with one goal for each of them on two occasions in a friendly framework: the first in August 2002, and the second in May 2010.
A French TV presenter sparked - on Tuesday - a wave of controversy and interactions on communication platforms, when he asked the roosters' coach Didier Deschamps - during a live TV program - to allow the Tunisian national team to win, in recognition of the historical relationship between the two countries.
In a message addressed to Deschamps, he said, "I hope you will accept my request positively. Tell your defenders to clear the way for the Tunisian attackers. The French national team has included its candidacy, so we must stand by the Tunisian team and enable it to score goals."
The video clip, which was widely transmitted, sparked great controversy, but it brought back to the fore the colonial relationship between Tunisia and France, and the years-old sports link between them.
10 of the players of the current Tunisian national team were born in France, and some of them played for the French youth teams before changing their allegiance to Tunisia, and two of them have lived in France since their childhood and hold the nationalities of the two countries.
Issa Al-Aidouni is one of the 10 players on the Tunisian national team list, born in France (Getty Images)
On top of that, 3 out of 4 individuals who make up the coaching staff of the Tunisian national team were born in France and grew up in its clubs, and they are the assistant coach Salim Ben Achour, the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Ali Boumenijl, the goalkeeper coach who fought most of his football career in France, and Salim Ben Othman discoverer. Professional players who played in different French clubs.
Veteran Tunisian striker Wahbi Khazri was born on the French island of Corsica, and moved between several clubs in "Ligue 1", before landing in the French club Montpellier.
"I wanted us to be in the France group before the draw. It's a dream come true," Khazri told reporters on Tuesday. French and 100% Corsican too, and I have no shame in that."
Al-Khazri said in previous statements: "The French are the most fortunate, and we are far from them, but we have an opportunity to prove ourselves after all those years that most of our players spent in the French League."
Tunisia achieved its greatest football glory with French technical capabilities, as coach Roger Lemar was the European champion with the roosters in 2000, behind Tunisia's crowning of the only African Cup of Nations in its history, when it hosted the finals in 2004 and then beat Morocco 2-1.
Frenchman Roger Lemar was coach of the Tunisian national team when it won the 2004 African Nations Cup for the first time in its history (Reuters)
Lomar also led Tunisia to the 2006 World Cup finals, while his compatriot Alain Giras trained Tunisia in the 2019 African Nations, and reached the semi-finals of the competition.
However, these immortal events of Tunisian football did not forget the Tunisian fans, a long history of colonial legacy, as they often attacked the French national team and its players during the few confrontations that brought together the two teams.
There are about 700,000 Tunisians living in France, and many of them watched a friendly match against France in 2008 in Paris, where they booed while the French national anthem was playing, and shouted with every touch of the ball from the French substitute Hatem Ben Arfa of Tunisian origin.
This led to an angry reaction from then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who called the local federation into a meeting and demanded that no more matches be played in France against national teams of the former North African colonies.
The French government also insisted that future matches should be stopped if boos were booed during the national anthem.