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World Cup 2022: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Mitchell Duke gives Australians crucial win


Australia held on to a narrow first-half lead to pick up a crucial victory over Tunisia that keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.

Knowing defeat would mean an early exit from the competition, Graham Arnold’s side came out of the blocks full of energy and intent.

Mitchell Duke took advantage of their positive start when he superbly flicked Craig Goodwin’s cross into the far corner to put them 1-0 up after 23 minutes.

That sparked an outburst of jubilant celebration from the small contingent of Australia fans behind the goal, which momentarily silenced the hostile and unwavering support for Tunisia.

Hissed and jeered throughout by striking clusters of fans draped in red at the Al Janoub Stadium, Australia held their nerve to claim their first victory at a World Cup since 2010.

They survived a desperate onslaught from Tunisia in the second half, with Youssef Msakni forcing goalkeeper Mathew Ryan into a save at his near post, though that came moments after Mathew Leckie had come inches away from connecting with Goodwin’s cross at the other end.

Stoke City defender Harry Souttar put in a superb performance, making several key blocks and tackles as Australia dug in.

Australia, who suffered a humbling defeat by France in their opening match, will take on tough opponents Denmark next – but with qualification in their own hands.

Significant victory for delighted Aussies

This was a crucial match for both nations given they face competition from defending world champions France and Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark to progress from Group D.

It could not have been a better start for Australia then, as they dominated the opening 15 minutes to leave Tunisia unable to get out of their half.

Goodwin’s crosses from the left were initially dealt with, but the ease with which Australia were getting joy down that side will have caused concern for Tunisia.

Eventually, one of those crosses paid off as Duke expertly flicked Goodwin’s delivery into the far corner and ran over to the touchline to receive a clamour of pats on the head from his team-mates.

That goal did little to silence the overwhelming majority of Tunisia fans in the Al Janoub Stadium, though, and it was their side who ended the first half stronger with two big opportunities to equalise.

Australia centre-back Souttar made a crucial, sliding block to deny Mohamed Drager, just minutes before Tunisia captain Msakni volleyed an effort inches wide.

Tunisia changed shape in the second half and put Australia under spells of relentless pressure. Aaron Mooy had to make another vital block, before Souttar yet again intervened to stop a dangerous counter-attack.

The anxiety was palpable in the stadium when Tunisia substitute Wahbi Khazri almost poked in a late equaliser, before six added minutes were signalled by the fourth official.

But Australia – who had to come through two play-offs to qualify for the tournament in Qatar – held on for a significant victory and they go into their final group match with all to play for.

Tunisia, who take on France in their final match, are all but out.

Player of the match

MooyAaron Mooy

Tunisia

  1. Squad number7Player nameMsakni

  2. Squad number16Player nameDahmen

  3. Squad number9Player nameJebali

  4. Squad number23Player nameSliti

  5. Squad number20Player nameDräger

  6. Squad number3Player nameTalbi

  7. Squad number4Player nameMeriah

  8. Squad number24Player nameAbdi

  9. Squad number11Player nameKhenissi

  10. Squad number6Player nameBronn

  11. Squad number10Player nameKhazri

  12. Squad number14Player nameLaïdouni

  13. Squad number17Player nameSkhiri

  14. Squad number13Player nameSassi

  15. Squad number21Player nameKechrida

Australia

  1. Squad number13Player nameMooy

  2. Squad number1Player nameRyan

  3. Squad number15Player nameDuke

  4. Squad number19Player nameSouttar

  5. Squad number7Player nameLeckie

  6. Squad number23Player nameGoodwin

  7. Squad number16Player nameBehich

  8. Squad number4Player nameRowles

  9. Squad number22Player nameIrvine

  10. Squad number14Player nameMcGree

  11. Squad number5Player nameKaracic

  12. Squad number9Player nameMaclaren

  13. Squad number2Player nameDegenek

  14. Squad number10Player nameHrustic

  15. Squad number26Player nameBaccus

  16. Squad number11Player nameMabil

Line-ups

Tunisia

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 16Dahmen
  • 6BronnSubstituted forKechridaat 73′minutes
  • 4Meriah
  • 3Talbi
  • 20DrägerSubstituted forSassiat 45′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 17Skhiri
  • 14LaïdouniBooked at 26minsSubstituted forKhazriat 67′minutes
  • 24AbdiBooked at 64mins
  • 23Sliti
  • 7Msakni
  • 9JebaliSubstituted forKhenissiat 73′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mathlouthi
  • 2Ifa
  • 5Ghandri
  • 8Mejbri
  • 10Khazri
  • 11Khenissi
  • 12Maâloul
  • 13Sassi
  • 15Ben Romdhane
  • 18Chaalali
  • 19Jaziri
  • 21Kechrida
  • 22Ben Saïd
  • 25Ben Slimane
  • 26Hassen

Australia

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Ryan
  • 5KaracicSubstituted forDegenekat 75′minutes
  • 19Souttar
  • 4Rowles
  • 16Behich
  • 7LeckieSubstituted forBaccusat 85′minutes
  • 22Irvine
  • 13Mooy
  • 23GoodwinSubstituted forMabilat 85′minutes
  • 15DukeSubstituted forMaclarenat 64′minutes
  • 14McGreeSubstituted forHrusticat 64′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Degenek
  • 6Tilio
  • 8Wright
  • 9Maclaren
  • 10Hrustic
  • 11Mabil
  • 12Redmayne
  • 17Devlin
  • 18Vukovic
  • 20Deng
  • 21Kuol
  • 24King
  • 25Cummings
  • 26Baccus

Referee:
Daniel Siebert

Attendance:
41,823

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