It is finally the last matchday of the Group Stage, which means the World Cup will have to bid farewell to half of the teams. And congratulations to the other half. Your journeys for glory continue.
France showed why they crowned champions four years ago with two wins, topping the group. Meanwhile, Australia stood in second place with three points, followed by Denmark and Tunisia, with one point in hand. Except for France, the stake for the other qualifying spot remained a toss-up between three teams.
Tunisia shocked France
According to critics and most fans, Tunisia had the lowest advancing odds because they were losing in the goals difference battle and because they would face the reigning champion in the final game. But it wasn’t the end of the world for them. France decided to rest most of the starters for the second stage of the competition. Most players starting for France against Tunisia have yet to play meaningful minutes this campaign.
Tunisia started the game more determined and immediately put everything on the attack. But the first big chance went the French way. Kingsley Coman was in a great position to score, but he couldn’t finish the play. Five minutes later, Tunisia answered with an opportunity for Slimane, but it was diffused by the keeper. The first half ended with no team finding a way to score.
Tunisia had nothing to lose and continued to apply pressure in the second half. Their effort finally paid off in the 58th minute. Wahbi Khazri, with a fine finish from the edge of the box, made it one-nothing Tunisia. That goal hit deep into France’s ego. Didier Deschamps began to put his best players in. And Kylian Mbappe, per usual, used his speed and skill to drill past the defense. But on multiple occasions, his shots weren’t enough to beat Dahmen. When it all seemed like France would have to suffer a defeat, Antoine Griezmann put the ball in the back of the net in the last minute of the game. But after further checking from the VAR, the goal was disallowed in awe of the French players, coaches, and fans.
Tunisia may have won, but they still need to wait for the other game’s result.
Australia claimed the second spot in the last 16
Australia had a wonderful World Cup campaign coming into the game versus Denmark. The Socceroos acquired three points with a win against Tunisia – a task their opponent Denmark couldn’t complete – giving them a slight advantage in this game. Of course, the Danes had a much more quality roster than the Australians, but they would need to win to advance.
Denmark had plenty of chances to score in the opening half. But their only shots on target by Skov Olsen and Jensen proved harmless. Australia was pushed way too far back to create any significant change. A dull first half came to a close with no goals.
Australia surprisingly approached the second half with brighter energy. They soared on attack and got some notable chances from Jackson Irvine. The Danish soon took back the possession game. But they were given a cold bucket of water down their head. A lightning-fast break from Australia was finished by Matthew Leckie. Denmark had no other choice but to throw everything it had at Australia. No use. No use. The Australian stood tall and advanced to the next stage of the tournament. This is the second time they advance to the second round of the World Cup. They will face mighty Argentina.
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