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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Tunisia's road to the finals
Adel Sellimi
Adel Sellimi taking on the English defence at France '98
BBC Sport Online examines how Tunisia qualified in some style for the World Cup.

Tunisia displayed efficiency and a ruthless streak in front of goal in securing their World Cup place, finishing unbeaten in their African qualifying group and racking up a total of 20 points.

This came despite a change in coaching personnel midway through the qualifiers when Francesco Scoglio returned to club football in Italy and the German Eckhard Krautzen came in to take over.

Tunisia scored 23 goals in the process, led by the youthful strike-force of Ziad Jaziri and Ali Zitouni and managed to shrug off the pressure from Cote d'Ivoire, who kept snapping at their heels throughout the campaign.

Qualifying campaign
D 2-2 Ivory Coast (a)
W 1-0 Madagascar (h)
W 2-1 Congo (a)
W 6-0 DR Congo (h)
W 2-0 Madagascar (a)
D 1-1 Ivory Coast (h)
W 6-0 Congo (h)
W 3-0 DR Congo (a)

It was their win in Kinshasa against the notoriously difficult Democratic Republic of Congo in July last year that exemplified the dominance the north Africans enjoyed the group.

The former Zaire were beaten 3-0 in front of their own fans, the first time they had ever lost by such a margin at home in Kinshasa.

Former Bundesliga player Zoubier Baya scored twice in the game to break the back of the home side and effectively secure Tunisia's ticket for a third World Cup finals appearance, following their qualification for Argentina '78 and France '98.

Baya played a leading role in the side throughout the game and is one of several experienced internationals, who were prominent throughout the qualifiers.

Striker Zoubeir Baya
Zoubeir Baya - back in favour
The likes of Khaled Badra, Kaies Ghodhbane, Sirajeddine Chihi and Tarek Thabet have all been to the World Cup before and will again provide the backbone of their hopes in Japan and South Korea next year.

New spirit

Krautzen's arrival at the team also resurrected the international careers of Adel Sellimi, who had had a fall-out with the previous coach, and the ageing defender Mounir Boukadida.

Sellimi got sent off against Cote d'Ivoire in May, meaning a suspension for the end of the qualifying campaign.

Boukadida told the Tunisians to leave him out of the team while Waldhof Mannheim were still battling to win promotion to the Bundesliga.

Tunisia's preparations have always been well organised in stark contrast to most of their fellow African countries, with the side often going to Rome for training camps to take the players away from the domestic spotlight and all the media attention.

But their World Cup outings to date have been disappointing.

Italian coach Francesco Scoglio
Francesco Scoglio didn't last long
In 1978, when Tunisia were Africa's only representitiives, they were knocked out in the first round, despite beating Mexico and drawing against West Germany.

At the last World Cup, they again failed to progress from the group stage, ending with just a single point, after losing to England and Colombia, and drawing with Romania.

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