Gutsy Australia sink Tunisia to revive World Cup hopes

Tunisia's goalkeeper #16 Aymen Dahmen reacts as Australia's forward #15 Mitchell Duke (not seen) scores Australia's first goal during their Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D match at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 26, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Antonin Thuillier | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Striker Mitch Duke scored the only goal of a tight game with a clever header in the first half and Australia then desperately held on to silence Tunisia's vociferous fans.
  • Australia sit second in Group D with three points from two games, having been well-beaten 4-1 by holders France in their tournament-opener.

Doha, Qatar

Tunisia are all but out of the 2022 Fifa World Cup after falling 1-0 to Australia in their Group “D” match at the Al Janoub Stadium but their coach Jalel Kadri insists their tournament is far from over.

Hired in January, Kadri, just like Senegal coach Aliou Cisse, talked about any result being possible during the post match interviews.

"Even the bigger teams have lost to the smaller ones. We have one more match. We will play our hearts out and do our best,” said Kadri.

Lying last in their group with a single point, the Carthage Eagles must now study the right plan to beat favourites France in their last preliminary match.

The encounter will take place on Wednesday in the venue that sits amidst numerous international universities, the 45,000-capacity Education City Stadium.

Backed by a boisterous red band on the stands Tunisia, were hoping to maintain their winning record against Australia while also enhancing their chances of qualifying for their first ever round of 16.

But Australia energetically ended their two-match losing streak against the Carthage Eagles with Mitchel Duke turning Craig Goodwin's cross into the net in the 28th minute and will go into their last group assignment against Denmark knowing they have a chance to reach the knock-out stage for the first time since 2006.

Tunisians, to their credit, tried to force an equalizer in a frantic second half with their star player Youssef Msakni coming closest to netting for the Eagles.

Kadri will know he is now living on borrowed time following his publicly stated goals prior to the tournament that he would leave if they did not make it to the knock-out phase.

Senegal recovered from their 1-0 loss to Netherlands in their opening Group “A” match to emphatically beat hosts Qatar 3-1 on Friday and place one foot in the round of 16.

Morocco will be the third team from Africa to complete their second round of matches when they face the number second ranked team in the world Belgium in a tough looking Group “F” encounter today from 4pm at the Al Thumama Stadium.

The Atlas Lions showed good organisation to hold 2018 finalists Croatia to a barren draw four days ago but will certainly face more superior opposition in a Belgian side desperate to break their World Cup title-winning ceiling.

The Belgians laboured to edge out a lively Canada side in their opening match thanks to a Michy Batshuayi strike and will have the firepower, guided by the peerless Kevin De Bruyne,  to trouble Africa ’s second best ranked team in Qatar.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui will count on his nation’s good record against European nations and the large and loud support of the Moroccan following that has been conspicuous here in Doha.

Morocco were the first African country to qualify for the round of 16 in 1986 but have never made it out of the group in their other five appearances at this level.

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