Tunisia tasted sweet victory against France before the early exit but Australia advanced to the last 16 of the World Cup after securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over Denmark.
World Cup 2022, group D concluded with the historic victory of Tunisia over reigning champions France, and Leckie goal sends Socceroos to the knockout stage.
- Tunisia 1-0 France: Khazri goal in vain as Australia progress
- Australia 1-0 Denmark: Leckie goal sends Socceroos to the knockout stage
- Another patch of round of 16 set up with France facing Poland, Argentina battling Australia
Tunisia 1-0 France
Tunisia enjoyed a famous 1-0 win over France thanks to Wahbi Khazri, but it was not enough for them to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
With the early ticket sealed to round of 16 after two wins, Didier Deschamps fielded in the starting XI with nine changes from which beat Denmark.
The African side were bright from the start, bombarding France from both flanks and seeing an early effort from Nader Ghandri disallowed.
Khazri already showed some sign of another brilliant individual performance as he came close 10 minutes before the break, forcing goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to palm his long-range shot to safety.
France, without Mbappe, Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, looked like they only played for a draw. First half ended goalless, with the Tunisia was unsurprisingly better.
Slightly more than 10 minutes into second half, the game was lit with Khazri’s stunning solo goal.
The Montpellier man picked the ball up 40 yards from goal and slid through France’s defence before slotting past 38-year-old Steve Mandanda.
France only started to put pressure on in the latter stages when Mbappe was substituted on and they thought they had levelled it up when Griezmann fired home but an eventual VAR review spotted he was offside in the build-up.
A deserved win for Tunisia, as Australia’s 1-0 win over Denmark meant it the Socceroos that accompanied France in qualifying from Group D.
Khazri and co celebrated as they beat France for the first time since 1971, with him scoring the 25th for his country and his 3rd in the World Cup.
Australia 1-0 Denmark
Denmark was the favorite to advance, obviously.
But it’s another upset of the tournament so far, as Mathew Leckie’s winning goal send the Asian side went through as Group D runners-up.
The Danes had better and stronger start actually, as Kasper Hjulmand’s men dominated possession, but Socceroos kept the opponents at bay while threatening on counter-attack.
Closet chances to score belong to the 2020 Euro semi-finalist, as Mathias Jensen ran onto a flick from Martin Braithwaite, only to see his near post shot tipped over the bar by Mat Ryan.
The counter tactics worked for Australia though, as they turned defence into attack on the hour-mark.
It started with Riley McGree set Leckie away, who turned Danish defenders inside and out before finding the bottom right corner with a low shot past Kasper Schmeichel as he got his first goal ever in the World Cup.
There were nerves for Australia, with the referee awarding a penalty 10 minutes later for a foul on substitute Kasper Dolberg, only for an offside flag to overrule the decision.
As the game reached to close, Grahama Arnold’s men were able to hold on as Denmark ran out of steam and ideas.
Australia qualified for knock-out stage for only a second time from six tournament appearances (first time was 2006).
Denmark have been eliminated at the group stages of the World Cup for just the second time (also 2010).
What’s next for France & Australia
France and Australia advanced into the last 16 as winner and runner-up, perspectively.
As group C also concluded, there will be no rematch of 2018 World Cup as Argentina avoids France by topping the group.
Instead, Socceroos will be facing the Copa America champions, while France meeting up with Poland in the European clash.
Tunisia head home but will do so with their heads held high, but it’s not the case for sour Danes.
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