England kick off their latest World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday, 20 years after their last meeting in Marseille.
Tunisia have always been at the forefront of African football having made history during their initial World Cup finals campaign in Argentina in 1978.
Fuelled by a love for petanque and camel meat, they will hope to write another famous chapter in their World Cup history against Gareth Southgate’s side.
Fifth time lucky?
Tunisia are appearing in their fifth World Cup finals but have only won one match – their first, against Mexico in 1978. Their 1-0 win also made Tunisia the first African nation to win a match at the World Cup finals. Despite going on to draw 0-0 with West Germany, they failed to qualify for the second stage.
Eagles set to soar
Tunisia’s football team is known as ‘The Eagles of Carthage’. Close to the shores of Lake Tunis, Carthage was the richest and most powerful city in the Mediterreanan before the rise of Rome. It was burned to the ground by the Romans, but its ruins still exist as a major tourist attraction and a UNESCO world heritage site.
May the Force be with you
Tunisia has gained a reputation as a film location for some of the world’s major blockbusters. It has provided the set for every Star Wars film with the exception of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, as well as ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’.
One hump or two?
Couscous is Tunisia’s national dish but camel is prized a delicacy, especially in the south-west of the country. The hump is particularly prized as the most tender and fattiest part of the meat. The reknowned middle-eastern food writer Anissa Helou describes its taste as “a cross between beef and lamb.”
I predict a riot
No fewer than eight Tunisian clubs were forced to finish last season behind closed doors due to crowd violence – including champions Esperance. There was more crowd trouble in Nice in March when Tunisian fans invaded the pitch in the wake of a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.
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