• January 28, 2023 7:35 PM

Tunisia Beat France’s Second Team But Results Not Good Enough to Advance to Knockout Stage

ByDala News

Nov 30, 2022

FRANCE’s second team were put to shame by former Sunderland striker Wahbi Khazri as Didier Deschamps’ plan to rest his stars backfired spectacularly.

Nine of the team which beat Denmark four days ago to become the first team to qualify for the second round were given the night off.

Tunisia secured a famous victory over France in their final World Cup Group D match. Credit: Reuters

Former Sunderland man Wahbi Khazri briefly put the Tunisians in the last 16. Credit: Rex

But Mathew Leckie’s second half strike for Australia saw the Socceroos steal second place. Credit: AP

But the backup Bleus failed to grab their chance as Tunisia just missed out on qualification for the last 16.

But at least they bowed out with the memory of 31-year-old Khazri’s 58th-minute winner to comfort them on the short trip home from Qatar.

They thought they had forced the breakthrough they so desperately needed when Nader Ghandri volleyed Khazri’s ninth-minute free-kick beyond the static French keeper Steve Mandanda.

But his celebrations were quickly cut short by a VAR check which confirmed that the centre-half had made his run too soon and was marginally offside when he fired home.

At least the Tunisian supporters could take heart from the knowledge that their team was giving it a real go after failing to score in either of their first two games against Denmark and Australia.

Yet their commitment to playing on the front foot left them wide open to the counter-attack and they should have fallen behind in the 25th minute when they were carved apart by a slick French move.

But Kingsley Coman’s terrible first touch took him wider than necessary and an even worse shot missed the target by yards.

It summed up much of France’s disjointed performance as they were stretched by Tunisia down the flanks and tested by a series of dangerous crosses into the box.

The veteran Mandanda wasn’t exactly inspiring much confidence, either, needlessly punching the ball when it was easier to catch before making an unconvincing save from Khazri’s long-range effort.

Not that Deschamps or his bench of rested players looked that worried as the TV cameras regularly panned to Kylian Mbappe laughing and joking with his mates.

But Deschamps would surely have wanted to see his squad men applying a bit more pressure on the missing stars who must feel they are absolutely guaranteed to start Sunday’s second round game after watching this dismal display.

He certainly wouldn’t have been impressed at the ease with which Youssouf Fofana was bundled off the ball by Aissa Laidouni for an angled shot which just cleared the bar right at the start of the second-half.

And when Fofana was dispossessed again by Ellyes Shkiri in the 57th minute, there was to be no second let-off for the French as Khazri slalomed his way past Raphael Varane before rolling a precise shot into the bottom corner.

For a brief moment Tunisia were up to second place in Group D and knocking on the door of the last 16 for the first time in their history.

But within seconds came news of Australia taking the lead in the other game against Denmark and suddenly all Tunisia’s efforts were rendered meaningless.

Yet it was still too much for Deschamps to bear as he sent on Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Adrien Rabiot and William Saliba in a bid to stop the rot.

Antoine Griezmann thought he’d snatched a stoppage-time equaliser. Credit: PA

But VAR ruled out the Atletico Madrid ace’s late volley. Credit: Reuters
Tunisia, though, were not to be denied a famous victory when Griezmann’s 98th minute equaliser was ruled out by VAR.

And although the victory still wasn’t quite enough to take them through to the next round at least they departed the competition with their heads held high.

255830cookie-checkTunisia Beat France’s Second Team But Results Not Good Enough to Advance to Knockout Stage
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