Tunisia Defeats The World Champions France But Fails To Qualify To The Next Round Of The 2022 World Cup.

Tunisia handed the reigning champions France a shocking defeat in the final group stage match on Wednesday, but they have been eliminated from the 2022 World Cup.

It was an incredible victory in vain for the invigorated Carthage Eagles of Tunisia at the Education City Stadium, as they were fantastic from start to finish and thoroughly deserve the three points against the Les Bleus on the day.

Tunisia entered the game as last in the group knowing that only a win would see them stand a chance of progressing to the round-of-16 for the first time.

France on the other hand, had become the first team to secure a place in the next round after winning their opening two games in Qatar which promoted head coach Didier Deschamps to make nine changes to the starting XI but they were a shadow of their usual selves.

Kylian Mbappe was one of those to drop out, with Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani getting his first international start up front.

Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele were also not included in the starting XI.

There was also a start at right-back for Axel Disasi, the first outfield player to make his France debut in a World Cup match since 1966, while Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga started at left-back.

The much deserved changes for France was not felt, as they performed as if they had never played together before.

Tunisia thought they had taken an early lead in the eighth minute when Nader Ghandri's volley from a Khazri free-kick, flew past goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, but their joy was cut short when it was ruled out by the VAR for offside.

Following a goalless first-half, Tunisia ranked 30th in the world going into the tournament, continued to pile on the pressure on the 4th ranked team France.

The pressure paid off when France appealed in vain for a foul as Youssouf Fofana was dispossessed by Ellyes Skhiri, and captain Wahbi Khazri ran through before slotting a shot past Mandanda in the 58th minute to give the African side the lead.

Starting at this World Cup for the first time, French-born Khazri who plays in Ligue 1 for Montpellier, was one of six players in the Tunisian line-up and he had been capped by France at Under-21 level.

Deschamps then sent on Mbappe as well as Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele in an attempt to avoid a defeat, but it yielded no result.

It was a silly end to the game when substitute Griezmann volleyed in a dramatic equaliser, but the referee disallowed the goal for offside after a lengthy VAR review.

Tunisia then had to hold on for the 1-0 victory, to become the first team to beat France in a World Cup game since Germany in the 2014 quarter-final.

Though Tunisia's first win against an European opposition at a World Cup and just their third ever in 18 matches at the tournament, was not enough to take them through due to Australia’s 1-0 win over Denmark in the other final Group D game.

"It's mixed feelings because we're happy to beat a team like France," said Tunisia manager Jalel Kadri.

"We can be proud and leave with our head high, but it is a bitter victory.

"It would have been beautiful to beat France and reach the last 16. It is our fault for not doing what we needed to do before."

Australia finished level on six points with the world chamouons, but France top the group on goal difference.

France will now face Group C runners-up which could be either Poland, Argentina, Saudi Arabia or Mexico in Doha on Sunday, while the Socceroos will face the group winners.


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