Anis Ben Slimane with Tunisia against his native Denmark
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He chose the Tunisian jersey over the tunic of his native Denmark: at the age of 21, Anis Ben Slimane will start his first World Cup against the country he grew up in and he intends to prove himself without fear or regret.
“It’s very strange. But to be honest, I told my friends and everyone around me that if we go to the World Cup, Denmark will be ours. at the draw, he tells AFP in the corridors of his club in Brondby, a suburb of Copenhagen. The midfielder introduces himself as a Danish supporter “every other day”.
Born in the Danish capital to parents from the southern Tunisian city of Sousse, the dual-nationality footballer was poached by the Tunisian Football Federation just over two years ago. “I played with the under-19s in Denmark, it went well and I was very happy, then suddenly I got a call from the Tunisian national team.”, remembers the prediction of 1.88 m. He has yet to make his professional debut. “It was surprising that they wanted me”he said.
placed in front of him “very difficult choice”Anis Ben Slimane chooses the Carthage Eagles jersey. “I want to respect my Tunisian roots. My parents’ biggest dream is to see me play for the Tunisian national team since childhoodhe said. I want to make them proud. »
Former Tunisia assistant coach Adel Sellimi, who was in charge when the attacking midfielder was first called up in October 2020, explains the decision. “Despite his young age, he has great abilities”. “He has the advantage of being able to play in several positions, both in the middle and on the sides. He is comfortable with both feet.”raises the greeting technician “read the game well”.
“We are very disciplined”
30 for this World Cup held in Qatar, Tunisiae He inherited a formidable group with France and Denmark, both in the world’s top 10, and Australia in the FIFA rankings. “The group is very strict. And it will be difficult. But I think that every player will do his best to win the group stage.”Anis Ben Slimane analyzes.
Tunisia never qualified for the playoffs “that would be great”, he adds. The young player, who has confidence in the Tunisian team, wants to believe that behind the only goal he scored in the friendly defeat against Brazil (5-1) at the end of September.
“We don’t have big stars, but we are a very good group and very disciplined. (…)very good at defending our cause”, summarizes. France does not scare him. “We’ve got the skills in our team and if we’re having a good day and maybe a bad day in France, you never know.”she smiles. “I see them better individually than as a collective. This can be a good thing for us.”drives the midfielder forward.
According to him, the most complicated match will be against Denmark. “Denmark is better than France at the moment (…) with a very, very good squad and a lot of good players.”referees this specialist in free kicks. “Personally, it will be a more difficult game than France, also because I have feelings for Denmark. »
That doesn’t stop him from believing it. “I have never been afraid of a match and I will not be afraid. Whether it’s Brazil or France, whoever it is, it’s going to be a really, really big challenge and a great opportunity to show off on the international stage.”he argues.
For that, you just need to talk about football. The selection of Qatar as the host country, the construction sites that cost the lives of many foreign workers – “a clearly sad story” – nor the ban on homosexuality in the emirate. “I don’t want to mix politics with football”he concludes.