World Cup 2022 Group D: Tunisia beat France but still suffer elimination

World Cup 2022 Tunisia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Coming into the final game of Group D at World Cup 2022, Tunisia sat bottom with just one point and needed to beat group leaders France and hope the other game in the group, between Australia and Denmark, finished as a draw to have any chance at progressing to the knockout stages.

Their task seemed slightly easier as they took on a heavily-changed France side, with manager Didier Deschamps making nine player switches in total. 

The World Cup holders already had six points and were through to the last-16 having basically sowed up top spot considering their superior goal difference. 

Indeed, France were poor and couldn't click into gear, with Tunisia's Nader Ghandri sticking the ball in the net from a wide free-kick in the first half. While the goal was disallowed for offside, Tunisia continued to place France under plenty of pressure.

Eventually, in the 58th minute, Sunderland forward Wahbi Khazri dribbled past Raphael Varane and poked the ball into the bottom corner, past Steve Mandanda. At this stage, the African nation were heading to the knockouts, with Denmark and Australia still drawing. 

However, just minutes later Matthew Leckie scored a stunner for Australia, sending them on their way to the last-16 - the first time the nation has managed that since 2006. On that occasion they lost 1-0 to eventual winners Italy, due to a 95th minute from Francesco Totti. 

Despite their loss to Tunisia, France have still topped the group and will play the second-place team from Group C - currently Argentina but any of them, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia could finish in that position come the end of the game. 

Poland are currently top of Group C, meaning Australia would face them in the last-16 if the standings stay the same. 

Denmark crashed out bottom of the group, the European side picking up just one point in total following their opening game draw with Tunisia. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.