In the latest Tunisia news, head coach Nabil Maaloul is becoming increasingly worried about the fitness of Wahbi Khazri ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Khazri is seen as key to his country’s chances of getting past the group stages at the summer showpiece but there are huge concerns his level of fitness will not be up to the standard required.
Sunderland’s attacking midfielder, who spent last season on loan at French outfit Rennes, missed the 2-2 draw with Portugal in Braga on Tuesday due to a thigh muscle strain.
The 27-year-old, who scored nine Ligue 1 goals in the previous campaign, will also be absent for Friday’s international against Turkey in Geneva and his fitness is becoming a real worry with the World Cup just 13 days away.
Maaloul’s men only have one more friendly after the clash with Turkey, that coming against Spain on June 9, and the head coach is hoping Khazri will play some part against the 2010 World Cup winners.
The Ajaccio-born star has been training apart from the rest of the squad at their base in Lausanne, Switzerland, and he has not played since the end of April, missing Rennes’ last three games of the Ligue 1 season.
Tunisia, making their first appearance at the World Cup since 2006, face a difficult task to make the first knockout stage in Russia after being drawn in Group G alongside Belgium, Panama and England, who are 16/1 with bet365 to win the tournament.
Maaloul’s side open their campaign against the Three Lions on June 18 and the Eagles of Carthage are 9/1 outsiders with bet365 to pick up the win, a draw is priced at 15/4 whilst Gareth Southgate’s men are firm 1/3 favourites.