“No extra strain on the World Cup than in Ligue 1”

You could have been carrying the colours of Tunisia for nearly 10 years. Does this must do one thing to you on the daybreak of beginning your second World Cup?
That is distinctive ! I by no means thought I’d sooner or later play for my nation or play in a World Cup. Every thing that occurs to me with the choice is magnificent. Having already performed a World Cup is a supply of satisfaction, so taking part in a second one… As well as, we’re in the identical group as France, it is magnificent. For all these years, I’ve had a variety of enjoyable and I’m pleased with what I’m doing with the choice. There may be a lot pleasure round. Tunisia is a rustic of soccer. Because the revolution in 2011, we really feel that individuals must expertise moments of pleasure, and soccer permits them to flee. Realizing that we’re the guarantors of this, it is very important give all the things.

What reminiscences do you could have of your first cap (in opposition to Ethiopia 1-1, January 7, 2013)?
I used to be a bit apprehensive and a small lump in my abdomen in the beginning as a result of I needed to do effectively. But it surely’s nonetheless an excellent reminiscence. As quickly as you hear the anthem, you get chills. You are feeling straight that it’s one thing else to symbolize your nation. I needed to wait a bit earlier than taking part in at residence. However while you play on the Olympic Stadium in Radès, it is enjoyable since you play in entrance of 60,000 folks. Anyway, even while you transfer to small cities, it is usually full. The environment is like that of the nation’s golf equipment, whether or not it is Membership Africain, Espérance de Tunis or Etoile du Sahel. Furthermore, these are atmospheres to see!

Is the strain completely different while you put on your nation’s shirt?

In my head, I attempt to take any recreation the identical. I do not put extra strain on myself for a World Cup recreation than for a league recreation. I’m going into matches saying to myself: I have to not have any regrets on the finish, I have to give my most. “I by no means stated to myself:” It is a World Cup recreation, I gotta do extra “. It isn’t my approach of working. I all the time enter the sphere with the identical frame of mind after I might be good or unhealthy…

You had been on the journey in 2018. A primary match within the World Cup, what does it symbolize?
It was distinctive. Reverse was England, a collective stuffed with stars. Succeeding in competing with them was one thing robust. We take a second aim from Harry Kane in added time (1-2), however I feel we did honor to the Tunisian folks. If you play such a match, when world-class gamers have by no means had the possibility to take part in a World Cup, it stays etched in your reminiscence all of your life. Then, I additionally had the possibility to attain and rating in opposition to Belgium and Panama (one aim and one help in each video games).

“I need to make the Tunisian folks proud”

What different second has remained etched in your reminiscence endlessly?
The draw in opposition to Libya in Radès which permits us to qualify for the 2018 World Cup (0-0, November 11, 2017). The stadium was packed. I keep in mind that throughout the anthem everybody was singing. Moreover, I stored a video of it in my telephone!

How do you see your function on this Tunisia group?
I am beginning to grow to be a veteran, I’ve a variety of expertise, so I attempt to combine the newcomers and the little younger individuals who arrive. It will be important as a result of they’re those who will take over. As I stated, it is a soccer nation, there are a variety of younger individuals who dream of carrying this jersey, so as soon as they’re referred to as up, they must know why they’re there. Afterwards, I strive above all to be environment friendly personally and to deliver extra to the group. I need to make the Tunisian folks proud.

Do you method this World Cup telling your self that you’ll have to make the most of the second as a result of it may very well be your final?
I feel will probably be my final, so sure. We’re not going to must waste our probabilities. We now have a homogeneous group. Admittedly, France is above, however all the things is feasible in opposition to Australia and Denmark. It is going to be essential to get better effectively between the matches and to play the shot totally. It could be the worst factor to have regrets, so it’s important to give your all. I need to hold good reminiscences.

Exactly, leaving your group (France, Denmark, Australia) appears inside your attain?
Sure ! The aim is to get out of this group! To qualify for the eighth can be historic for Tunisia. We’re fortunate to not have a star participant within the group, we’re extra of a collective and we have now usually managed to face as much as massive nations lately. We’re able to doing nice issues.

How can the expertise of your 2018 World Cup be helpful?
It is going to be helpful within the administration of matches. For instance, to return to the match in opposition to England, we make an error on the nook submit in added time when we have now to clear the ball… This sort of element in opposition to massive nations, we pay money . It’s in this sort of scenario that we must be extra vigilant to make as few errors as potential.

“I’ve a variety of flags on my shoulders, it is good”

You spoke a number of instances about France, your native nation. What does this match symbolize for you?
I needed to be within the France group earlier than the draw. It is a dream that may come true. We are going to play in opposition to very nice gamers. It is a recreation that is going to be broadcast everywhere in the world and, particularly, in France, the place I reside, so will probably be good. Displaying what you might be able to in opposition to an enormous group and nice gamers is what you need in a profession.

How are you perceived in Tunisia?
I feel I am fairly favored. I attempt to symbolize Tunisia in France each weekend by performing effectively. Afterwards, I even have the possibility to symbolize Corsica, as a result of I used to be born there. I’ve a variety of flags on my shoulders, it is good. When folks discuss me, I like to listen to: Wahbi, the Corsican, Wahbi, the Tunisian “. I feel it is enjoyable to see its origins being put ahead. I’m 100% Tunisian, 100% French and 100% Corsican. I’ve no embarrassment about that.

You now have 72 alternatives. Do you ever take into consideration the journey you could have already made with Tunisia?
Sure ! I’ve completed 5 African Cups, I am going to participate in my second World Cup… It may very well be a good way to come back full circle. I additionally take into consideration the top of my story with the choice. There are younger people who find themselves rising, who’ve issues to point out and I could have to present them area. Afterwards, I really feel actually good bodily, I really feel actually robust. I will play this World Cup totally, then I am going to see what occurs afterwards.

You might be nonetheless 12 objectives (24) from turning into the highest scorer within the choice (Isaam Jemâa, 36). Is that this a document behind your thoughts?
Frankly, I do not actually care about that. As I wish to say, principally I am not a striker. I merely rating objectives as a result of I like to attain them, I am usually effectively positioned and folks put me in an excellent temper. I am not obsessive about the aim in any respect. Being the second greatest scorer within the choice is already very stunning and I’m happy with it. I haven’t got this concept in thoughts to go for the document. If we get out of the teams with out me scoring a single aim, I signal with each ft and each arms.

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