Tunisia’s hopes of qualifying for the next round in the 2022 World Cup took a significant blow with a 1-0 defeat to Australia. The decisive moment came in the first half when Mitchell Duke scored with a header from a tight angle. Tunisia were unable to find an equaliser and Australia held on for a crucial win.
Australia held on to a narrow first-half lead to pick up a crucial victory over Tunisia that kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.
Knowing defeat would see them make 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. It was a deserved lead for the Australian side who were seeking the more likely to score.
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 Tunisia fans draped in red at the Al Janoub Stadium, Australia held their nerve to claim their first victory at a World Cup since 2010. It was a scrappy, hard-fought game in which neither team truly dominated, but the Socceroos showed grit and determination to come away with the win.
Tunisia put up a strong fight, but in the end Australia’s experience and poise prevailed. This victory will be a boost to the Socceroos’ confidence as they head into the rest of the tournament.
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 had an excellent match, making crucial blocks and tackles to help Australia keep the score close. Souttar’s efforts were a big reason why Australia was able to stay in the game and eventually come away with a point. His performance was exemplary and will surely be remembered by fans for some time to come.
Australia, who suffered a disappointing defeat to France in their opening match, will take on a tough Danish side next. However, with qualification still in their own hands, they will be looking to bounce back and get back on track. Denmark will be a tough test, but if Australia can keep their heads, they should be able to get the result they need.