Wahbi Khazri will hope to play his part as Tunisia return to the World Cup stage for the first time in 12 years this summer.

The African nation have failed in four previous attempts to get beyond the group stage and they’ve once more been dealt a tough hand in amongst European heavyweights Belgium and England as well as World Cup first-timers Panama.

Having spent time at Sunderland, Khazri will be well-known to England fans when they line-up for their Group G opener in Volgograd on June 18.

The French-born attacking midfielder came to prominence during a five-year stint with Bastia, where he managed to find the net 31 times in more than 170 appearances.

He then proved a more than useful acquisition at Bordeaux and did enough to earn a move to Sunderland in January 2016.

After making a decent initial impact for the Black Cats and helping them avoid relegation under Sam Allardyce, Khazri fell down the pecking order under David Moyes’ leadership as Sunderland were finally relegated from England’s top tier in 2017 after a series of near misses.

He was duly sent on a season-long loan deal back to France at Rennes. While Sunderland’s plight has gone from bad to worse, Khazri has seemingly turned things around for himself back in the country of his birth.

A return of seven goals in his first 14 starts back in Ligue 1 helped earn the winger some positive reviews in the French press, with Khazri effectively delivering his most consistent run of form since his time in Bordeaux.

He starred and scored in February’s impressive 2-0 win away at Lyon and will be hoping to carry his form to Russia this summer.

England, 1.33 favourites to win their opening game, will be wary of Khazri when the sides meet. Tunisia are 9.50 to take three points from that game, with the draw at 4.75.

Leave a comment