World Cup: Australia recovers from thrashing France and beats Tunisia

Australia rehabilitated itself at the World Cup in Qatar and, to boot, complicated life for Tunisia. This Saturday (26), the Socceroos beat Águias do Cártago by 1-0, at the Al Janoub Stadium, in Al Wakrah. The selection that represents the Asian continent, but geographically is in Oceania, has not won a game for the competition since 2010, in South Africa.

Defeated by the current champion, France, in the debut, by 4 to 1, the Australians went to three points and assumed, provisionally, the second place in Group D. The Tunisians follow with the added point in the goalless draw with Denmark and depend more on themselves to reach the last 16 for the first time. The top two finishers advance to the next stage.

Still this Saturday, at 1 pm (Brasília time), the French and the Danish complete the second round of the group at the 974 Stadium, in Doha. In case of victory, Les Bleus already guarantee early classification for the round of 16.

The matches of the last round of Group D take place this Wednesday (30), at 12h (Brasília time). The Australians play Denmark again at Al Janoub, while the Tunisians face France at the Education City Stadium in Doha.

Australian effectiveness decides match

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group D - Tunisia v Australia

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group D – Tunisia v Australia – Marko Djurica/Reuters

The teams went to the field with only one change each in relation to the debut. In Tunisia, coach Jalel Kadri promoted a change in attack, with Naim Sliti replacing Anis Ben Slimane, maintaining the three-back formation adopted against Denmark. Australia’s coach, Graham Arnold, repeated almost the entire lineup of the rout suffered by the French, with the exception of injured lateral Nathaniel Atkinson, who gave space to Fran Karacic.

Tunisia started the game proving their own poison, having the ball pressed in the same way they did against the Danes. Despite the greater volume, the Australians took a while to finish. When they did, they reached the goal. At 24 minutes, Craig Goodwin received from midfielder Riley McGree on the left and crossed. The ball deflected off defender Mohamed Dräger and fellow striker Mitch Duke – who started the move in midfield – scored with a header, covering goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen to open the scoring.

Australia’s strong marking prevented the Águias do Cártago from taking a single shot towards goalkeeper Mathew Ryan in the first half. Still, in the final minutes, the Tunisians managed to scare. At 40 minutes, Youssef Msakni had the leftover ball divided by fellow striker Issam Jebali almost at the penalty spot and rolled on the right to Dräger, who hit it first, stopped at the time by defender Harry Souttar. In injury time, Jebali appeared in the area on the right and crossed low for Msakni to shoot first, close to the left post.

The Africans returned from the break reinforcing the midfield with midfielder Fernaji Sassi replacing Dräger, changing from the 3-4-3 to the 4-3-3, in addition to advancing the scoring, renting the defensive field of Australia, which was forced to retreat. When they had patience, Tunisia managed to enter the area in the 26th minute and scared the shot by Msakni, at first, on the left, for Ryan’s defense near the right post. At 43 minutes, winger Wajdi Kechrida dominated on the right and rolled for striker Wahbi Khazri to complete, but the shot came low and into the goalkeeper’s hand.

Despite hanging around the Socceroos’ area, the Tunisians insisted mainly on high crosses. There were 15 throughout the second stage and only one was not removed by the Australian defense, which held on with all its strength the result that kept the selection alive in the Qatar Cup.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News