World Cup 2022. Montassar Talbi, this Lorient defender who will face France with Tunisia this Wednesday

The France team will face Tunisia on November 30 for their last group match of the World Cup. With in the opposite camp the Lorientais Montassar Talbi. The Merlus defender awaits the Blues and Kylian Mbappe on a firm footing.

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Parisian by birth before returning with his parents to Tunisia at the age of 12, defender Montassar Talbi awaits France firmly, clinging to the dream of a historic qualification for the round of 16 at the World Cup-2022. The match will take place on Wednesday November 30 at 4 p.m.

« We will try to win against France. We will play the match as if it were a final« , promised the defender of Lorient after the defeat (0-1) Saturday against Australia which complicates the task of the Eagles of Carthage.

A victory on Wednesday against the Blues, already qualified, will not be enough. It will be necessary to hope for a draw between Denmark and Australia or a narrow victory for the Danes in the other match, for Tunisia to reach the eighth for the first time, in their sixth participation. France-Tunisia is, in any case, never trivial between two countries with close cultural ties.

« I have dual nationality, I have lived in both countries, rubbed shoulders with both cultures. I am not the only one in the Tunisian selection »explained Talbi a few days before the start of the World Cup, referring to his family who lives in the Paris region.

At six, he plays in the same club as Mbappe

Born in Paris in 1998, a few weeks before his « idol » Zinedine Zidane became world champion with the Blues, the future Tunisian international hit his first balls at 5 years old at Paris FC. At the age of six, he joined FC Lilas, the flagship club of training in Seine-Saint-Denis with AS Bondy, where Kylian Mbappé, his seven-month junior and whom he will undoubtedly find against him on Wednesday at the Education City Stadium.

A duel that he strives to apprehend without fear. « As a defender, I cannot say that a striker impresses me. But we all know that Mbappé is one of the best players in the world today », he declared after the defeat of the Merlus, in the league against Paris SG (2-1), he three weeks ago.

« When we play against this kind of player, we have to be concentrated, even more than usual ». But at 24, Talbi has seen more.

Passed through Turkey and Russia before FC Lorient

Passed through all age categories at Espérance de Tunis, a club that generates an overflowing passion from the youth teams, he then tried his luck in Turkey, at Rizespor.

« For me, it was a good springboard, a bridge between the Tunisian championship, the world of African football, and European football.“, explained the one who says to make his choices « by feeling, by feeling ».

After an almost blank year, he ended up making his mark and was to sign in Italian Serie A, at Benevento, but the club’s relegation derailed the transfer. He then joined Rubin Kazan, an ambitious club whose momentum was cut off by the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions against Russian clubs.

« It’s a club that trusted me, gave me a lot of responsibility and believed in me. I wanted to return the favor »he argued to justify staying there despite the exclusion of Russian clubs from European competitions.

It was also a time when there was « Important matches for qualifying for the World Cup (…) I worked a lot for years for that. To be so close to the goal, for me it was important to continue to be competitive » in view of the big meeting in Qatar, justified the player, landed in Lorient last July.

With one point taken in the first two matches, Tunisia’s first record is not quite up to the emotions that the selection gives it.

« Every time I hear the national anthem sound, it’s chills… », Talbi confided, also recalling the feeling « grand » after his equalizer in September against Brazil, at the Parc des Princes, in a warm-up match, despite the severe defeat (5-1).

The match against France will perhaps give him such great emotions and if he knows that preventing the Blues from scoring will be his main responsibility, he revels in it in advance. « It’s a bit of this responsibility that makes me live every day ».

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