It is fashionable to speak of rarity.
It will only be, this Wednesday, November 30, the 5th confrontation between France and Tunisia.
Previously, the Blues had never crossed paths with the "Eagles of Carthage" in the final phase of a World Cup.
On the other hand, on three occasions, this adversary was placed in their path either in the preamble or the day after the planetary tournament.
The friendly confrontation of October 14, 2008 at the Stade de France had given rise to a memorable rant from the resident of the Élysée.
Nicolas Sarkozy had, in fact, banged his fist on the table to stigmatize the treatment reserved for "the Marseillaise", shouted down during the hymns.
The incident had even been described as “scandalous” by the President of the Republic.
May 19, 1978, Platini changes the scene, Corver at the whistle
The two nations are fine-tuning the final settings before joining Argentina, the scene of the 12th World Cup.
If France returns to this competition after an absence of twelve years, it is a baptism of fire for its adversary where shine, in particular, the undulating Temime Lahzami, future player of Marseille, and Tarak Dhiab, the master at play of the 1978 generation, the only Tunisian to have registered, a year earlier, his name on the winners of the African Ballon d'Or.
At the Blues, Michel Hidalgo decides to blow Michel Platini.
But Jean-Marc Guillou's ankle injury forced him to review his initial plan and launch his strategist just before the break.
The physiognomy of the meeting then changes completely.
First embarrassed by the Tunisian vivacity, the Blues force the decision thanks to their number 10 after a stint with Dalger (71st), which then worsens the mark (74th).
Read alsoFifa trial: after his acquittal, what future for Michel Platini?
France completes its preparation with a tenth match without defeat.
Deserving, Tunisia will become in Argentina the first African team to win a match in the World Cup (against Mexico, 3-1).
This meeting is refereed by a certain Charles Corver.
The Dutchman, who died in 2020, is sadly remembered for failing to exclude Harald Schumacher, author of a blatant attack on Patrick Battiston in the semi-final of the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
August 21, 2002, the head of Silvestre, the shadow of Lemerre
A new start ?
For the first time since the bitter failure of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea, the Blues return to the field during a friendly match on the ersatz lawn of the Stade du 7-Novembre, in Radès, in the suburbs. south of Tunis.
If Jacques Santini, successor to Roger Lemerre as coach, was able to rejuvenate the group by seeking four new players, he renewed, on the other hand, Marcel Desailly in his role as captain.
This change in continuity consecrates the power of the “elders”.
Read alsoMarcel Desailly and Blaise Matuidi, world champions who want to believe in the "fabulous double"
Very observed, the Blues must demonstrate their talent.
They start the meeting on a good footing.
Upon receipt of a corner kick from the right side by Zidane, Mikaël Silvestre opened the scoring with a header from the angle of six meters (19th).
The locals erase the slate before the break, after an action involving two players from Espérance de Tunis.
On a cross from Mourad Melki, Ali Zitouni beats Thuram and Silvestre to equalize with a header.
The second half sends the two teams back to back.
Less than two years later, Tunisia won, at home, against its Moroccan neighbor, the first and only CAN in its history to date with a certain… Roger Lemerre on his bench, when France ceded its scepter to Portugal. continental won with a hard fight in 2000.
May 30, 2010, the beginning of the end
On the road to South Africa, the vice-world champions land in Sousse where they are preparing their penultimate warm-up match against the Carthage Eagles, who did not qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1994. In Rades , in front of a full stadium, the France team did not confirm its first encouraging outing against Costa Rica a few days earlier in Lens (2-1).
Already a scorer at the Stade de France in 2008, Issam Jemaa puts the cover back by taking over a cross from Ben Khalfallah (5th).
The good sides of the 4-3-3, tested against the Ticos, seem to have faded, while the flaws, namely a defense completely cut off from the rest of the team, cruelly come to the surface.
While his left calf caused concern during the preparation for Tignes, it was Gallas' header, on a free kick from Gourcuff, which avoided defeat for the Blues (1-1, 63).
The Gunner is one of the only good news of the match, with Gourcuff and Ribéry two of the few trying to create, vary and overthrow.
Promises without a future.
The worm is already in the fruit and a few weeks later, France discredits itself in the eyes of the whole world with the pathetic episode of the bus in Knysna, acme of a World Cup in South Africa which turned into a nightmare.