Hannibal primed for World Cup debut
Manchester United youngster Hannibal's hopes of starting Tunisia's World Cup opener with Denmark next Tuesday have risen, after he featured in a warm-up victory over Iran.
The midfielder has been gaining valuable experience on loan at Birmingham City in the Championship and could now be thrust into the global spotlight during the big tournament in Qatar.
After being allocated the no.8 jersey, he was included in the starting line-up for the 2-1 victory on Wednesday with coach Jalel Kadri fielding Hannibal, alongside Wahbi Khazri and Youssef Msakni, in a three-man attack.
Tunisia won the friendly – played behind closed doors at the request of the Iran football federation – with goals from Naim Sliti and Ali Abdi.
With coach Kadri working hard to establish a tactical game-plan for the contest with the highly rated Danes (and United's Christian Eriksen), it suggests Hannibal has a good chance of playing in Al Rayyan, with further tests to come against Australia and France, the country of his birth.
We asked Eriksen if he had any advice for Hannibal and other youthful Reds Tyrell Malacia and Facundo Pellistri ahead of the tournament, after he was the youngest player at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
“Yeah, enjoy it,” said the experienced Denmark playmaker. “I mean it’s not often there is a World Cup so just being there is special and then, of course, getting all the minutes you can on the pitch. It's very different being there compared to when you actually play at a World Cup. So really enjoy the moment.”