France 0-1 Tunisia: Khazri goal not enough despite memorable win
Wahbi Khazri celebrates giving Tunisia the lead against France (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images).

Wabhi Khazri's second half winner secured Tunisia a memorable victory over France, but it was not enough to see them reach the round of 16 in Qatar.

They faced a heavily rotated Les Bleus, who looked shaky and disjointed at times, which Tunisia took full advantage of to win.

The match saw France's six-match winning run at the World Cup end at the hands of a side who had never beaten a European team at the World Cup before the tie.

Antoine Griezmann had the ball in the net with seconds to go, but a late VAR check chalked the goal off.

However, Australia's victory over Denmark in the other game in Group D saw The Socceroos become the unlikely team to join France in progressing from Group D.

  • Story of the match

Didier Deschamps rung in the changes ahead of the tie with France already qualified for the knockouts, making nine alterations to the side that beat Denmark.

Steve Mandanda started between the sticks for Les Bleus, with Matteo Guendouzi starting in midfield alongside Jordan Veretout.

Kingsley Coman and Randal Kolo Muani led the line for France.

Tunisia made five changes from their loss against Australia, with former Sunderland man Khazri up front in his first start of the tournament.

It was a match that the Eagles of Carthage needed to win to progress, even then relying on other results to go their way in Group D were they to be victorious against a rotated France side.

Tunisia pressure

Raphael Varane made an important clearance from a corner early on.

It had been a shaky start to the tie from France at the back.

Tunisia thought they had the lead in what would have been a dream start for the underdogs.

Khazri whipped the ball into the box with a set piece and Nader Ghandri got on the end of it to score, but the flag was up and the game remained goalless.

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The opening ten minutes were dominated by Tunisia, who had looked to take full advantage of the weakened French team.

Khazri went down in the box after the ball was won off Veretout, but the referee waved away the appeals with very little contact on the striker.

Les Bleus' first set piece saw Guendouzi flick the ball on, but it was turned behind and the following set piece came to nothing.

Playing as a makeshift left back, Eduardo Camavinga was nutmegged by Aissa Laidouni, and the midfielder was brought down as he threatened to break away for Tunisia.

Aymen Dahmen was forced to scramble away a poor back pass, but the danger was averted fortunately for The Eagles of Carthage.

Wajdi Kechrida pressed Ibrahima Konate high up the pitch and looked to pinch the ball off the Liverpool defender, but could not quite manage it and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Coman had time and space in the box to put France in front against the run of play, but his first touch let him down and he fired wide.

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Laidouni drilled the ball into the box, but it was cleared away but not for long.

The cross that followed soon after led to a header that Camavinga did not seem to be too aware of, hitting him on its way towards goal.

It was eventually claimed by Mandanda.

Anis Ben Slimane aimed the ball towards the back post with a cross, but the French defence just about managed to clear their lines.

Camavinga made an important clearance to cut out a cross to Nader who was lurking at the back post.

Khazri fired the ball at range towards goal, but Mandanda was able to parry the ball away as Tunisia continued their search for a much needed first goal of the tournament.

Kolo Muani drove at the heart of the defence for Deschamps' side, but the pass back to him at the end of a give-and-go move from Youssouf Fofana was cut out.

Khazri may have been relieved to see the offside flag raised against him when he was played in on goal on the right-hand side, but his cross into the box was nowhere near a white shirt.

Fofana aimed a powerful shpt towards goal in added time in the first half, but it was blocked.

The Eagles of Carthage broke up the other end, but Khazri fired well over from range.

Tunisia were level and still alive in the World Cup at the break, having been the better side with the deadlock yet to be broken.

However, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe on the bench for France, Tunisia boss Jalel Kadri will have known his side may not get the same amount of openings if France made substitutions after the interval.

Khazri went down in the box following a challenge from Aurelien Tchouameni, but replays showed the Real Madrid midfielder got the ball.

Laidouni created a chance with determination and a good bit of skill, leaving the ball and making a run, eventually beating Axel Disasi to the ball, but he fired over.

Kechrida and Yassine Meriah had the ball in dangerous areas for The Eagles of Carthage, but it was caught easily by Mandanda in the end.

Tunisia's magic moment

In the 58th minute, Khazri had the goal Tunisia so desperately needed and their first of the tournament.

He made a driving run down the middle of the pitch, and with Mandanda coming out of his goal, he slotted the ball coolly into the bottom-right hand corner.

It was a poor goal for France to concede, with their six-match winning streak in the World Cup at risk.

It was Khazri's final contribution in the game, and was met by hugs from the entire Tunisia bench as he was replaced.

Kadri was furious on the bench when Disasi barged into Ali Ben Romdhane off the ball.

Mbappe was brought on with Arsenal's William Saliba as Deschamps looked to turn the tide in the game.

The substitution was made as news broke around the ground that Australia had taken the lead against Denmark in Group D's other game.

The score meant despite being ahead Tunisia would as it stood crash out of the World Cupa score line which remained the same until full time.

Laidouni had space to cross but took too long and the ball was sent behind for a corner which was wasted.

Romdhane had a good opportunity to shoot, but again took his time and was well marshalled away from goal by Varane.

Substitute Ousmane Dembele crossed the ball into the area which was awkwardly palmed away by Dahmen for Tunisia.

A scramble in the box resulted in Dembele firing straight at Dahmen as France began to pile on the pressure with the core of the team brought on by Deschamps.

Mbappe skipped a couple of challenges and forced a good save as France tried to salvage something from the tie.

Kolo Muani shaped up to shoot from the edge of the area and narrowly missed the target after it was deflected behind for a corner.

Tunisia were struggling to withstand the late France pressure as eight minutes were added on at the end of the game.

Mbappe had a free kick in added time which the wall blocked, as Kadri's side dropped deeper and deeper into their own half.

With just seconds to go, controversy struck as Griezmann had the ball in the net, but VAR came to Tunisia's rescue, as he was adjudged to be interfering with play in an offside position before scoring.

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Full time saw Tunisia secure a shock victory, which perhaps proved the lack of depth in the current France squad which suffered several injuries in the build-up to the tournament.

  • Player of the match

Aissa Laidouni was perhaps unfortunate not to be given the award given that he was at the centre of all of Tunisia's positive play.

However, it was Wahbi Khazri who scored the first and only goal of The Eagles of Carthage's tournament which gave them a glimmer of hope of reaching the knockout rounds.

Khazri was energetic and resilient, constantly hounding and pressing the French backline.

He also provided his country with a moment to remember and a special win with a goal that summed up his performance, even if it was not enough to progress in Qatar.

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