Status: 11/30/2022 6:01 p.m
The underdogs defeated the defending champions 1-0 but were unable to progress as Australia beat Denmark. France will go to the round of 16 as group winners.
Tunisia’s footballers surpassed themselves in the first World Cup duel with France, but were not rewarded for their passionate commitment. The North Africans beat a B-Elf of the defending champions, who have already qualified for the round of 16, on Wednesday (November 30, 2022) in Al-Rayyan’s Education City Stadium 1-0 (0-0).
Nevertheless, the outsider has to start the journey home because Australia 1-0 over Denmark in the Group D pushed past Tunisia. Reigning world champions France take a sobering realization into the knockout phase: The second suit from “Les Bleus” doesn’t fit at all.
Deschamps: “Now the second tournament begins”
“We won the group and achieved our goal. Now the second tournament begins,” said France coach Didier Deschamps, adding with a view to his second row: “Today’s decisions will help us in four days.” In the round of 16, the French will meet the runners-up on Sunday Group C.
France competes with B-Elf
Deschamps, who was already in the round of 16 with France before the last group game, threw up nine positions in his starting eleven. Only Aurelien Tchouameni and Raphael Varane retained after that Win against Denmark (2-1) their place, the stars around Kylian Mbappé were spared. Bayern player Kingsley Coman and Randal Kolo Muani from Eintracht Frankfurt joined the team. Substitute goalkeeper Steve Mandanda also got a chance.
Tunisia with six changes in the starting XI
Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri rotated after 0-1 against Australia also violent. Six newcomers made it into the starting XI, including defender Ali Maaloul and midfielders Nader Ghandri and Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, three players who had never played at this World Cup. Born in Freiburg, Mohamed Dräger had to be content with a bank account.
Tunisia more active, France disappointed
Knowing their modest starting position, the Tunisians made a lot of steam from the start. Their fans erupted in celebrations in the eighth minute, but only briefly as Nader Ghandri’s shot was ruled offside following a Wahbi Khazri free-kick from the left. Khazri’s attempt to flay a penalty against his native country was really clumsy afterwards (13′).
The French didn’t come into play at all in the first half. They couldn’t find a rhythm and were mainly concerned with defending, because the North Africans kept trying high balls from outside. That didn’t bring any profit, so captain Khazri tried a long-range shot from 20 meters after a good half hour. Mandanda struggled and fended off the ball forward (35′). The chances of the Tunisians weren’t compelling enough for a half-time lead.
Khazri puts Tunisia ahead
Despite the poor performance of his second row, Deschamps refrained from making changes at half-time. But the laissez-faire of his players has now been punished. After Youssouf Fofana lost the ball just behind the halfway line, Khazri got the ball and started a solo run into the French penalty area, where he slid the ball past Mandanda into the right corner (58′).
Tunisia’s celebration of taking the lead was short-lived.
Image: IMAGO / Shutterstock
The celebration of the 1-0 lead by Khazri, who played for Montpellier and was substituted immediately after his goal, was dampened a little later when Australia took the lead in the parallel game.
Tunisia is defensive battle – and weeps
France changed three times, including superstar Mbappé. Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé also had to provide proof of employment that evening, but like the other French players, it was more than modest. The Tunisians defended the surprising result tooth and nail against the now approaching favorites.
Shortly before the end of injury time, a goal by Griezmann was disallowed for offside after video evidence. However, this decision did not dry Tunisia’s tears of disappointment. Denmark failed to equalize against Australia. The North Africans did not get past the preliminary round in their sixth World Cup attempt.