Ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Africa’s surprise qualifiers Tunisia have been dealt a huge blow, with their star Youssef Msakni ruled out with a knee injury.
Tunisia is in the same group as England, Belgium, and Panama and is set to face England in the opening game.
Msakni, an artful midfielder, tore a cruciate ligament while playing in a league match for his Qatari club, Al-Duhail, in a 5-2 victory against Al-Sailiya. He confirmed the news in a social media post saying: “extremely sad to have sustained this injury that deprives me of the season run-in with Duhail and participation in the World Cup with Tunisia”.
The 27-year-old scored a hat-trick in his country’s 4-1 win against Guinea in November, a result that went a long way towards securing qualification for the World Cup, where Tunisia play England in their first game on 18 June.
His position in the team might be filled by Wahbi Khazri.