18/04/2024

Tunisia score the only game of the game to upset France. (Photo: FIFAWORLDCUP/Twitter)

Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri scored the only goal in a huge upset over France, however, it was not enough to advance into the Round of 16.

Tunisia’s intensity and effort from start to finish was a huge difference in this game, pressing France’s conservative attack.

What Tunisia was lacking in their attack in the first half that they overcame in the second half was forming compact shapes and attacking wide, allowing their wingers to run with the ball and penetrate the makeshift French defense.

Defensively, both sides were effective as one-on-one defenders when the ball shifted deep into each others half of the pitch, however France struggled to tighten their defence when Tunisia had open space heading towards their box.

Kharzi in the 58th minute after having one attempt in the first half would capitalise off a cheap error from France and put it swiftly in the bottom right corner to take the lead.

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With France winning their first two group stage matches against Australia and Denmark, they decided to make nine changes to their starting 11 in advance of this match.

The starting eleven that they started with against Tunisia lacked chemistry and played conservatively, as they rested a lot of their players.

France would sub in Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann in the 63rd and 73rd minute respectively, hoping their talent and experience would overcome their struggle against a team hungry to sneak beyond the group stage.

While Mbappe’s goal attempts weren’t on target, his ability to create opportunities when gathering the ball at his feet and skilfully move past defenders saw his team collectively put pressure on Tunisia’s backline. 

This game would have a dramatic finish with Griezmann nailing a goal just before the end of the eight minutes added on.

It was ruled by VAR that Griezmann was offside from the free kick, with his presence being deemed to have interfered in the Tunisia defender’s action. The defender was interpreted to have tracked back to cover Griezmann, which would send the ball into the box and be played by Tunisia’s defence. 

It would be the last play of the game, ending France’s nine-game winning streak at the World Cup heading into this game, including the 2018 World Cup title.

Tunisia’s victory against France is its first win over the powerhouse since 1971 when they scored two goals to one.

France will now face the second-placed team from Group C, while Australia will face the winner of the same group.

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