Tunisia target maximum points against Australia

Tunisia target maximum points against Australia
Naim Sliti of Tunisia reacts after the FIFA World Cup 2022 group D soccer match between Denmark and Tunisia at Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar, 22 November 2022. EPA/Ronald Wittek

by Staff Reporter

Friday Nov 25, 2022. 13:00

Tunisia will aim to build on the point from their World Cup opener when they take on Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 12pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

Jalel Kadri’s side put in a resolute display against Denmark on Tuesday to earn a 0-0 draw, which was only their second clean sheet in 16 matches at the tournament.

The Eagles of Carthage stand a good chance of progressing to the last 16 for the first time in six attempts if they beat the Socceroos, who bring up the rear in Group D.

The two teams have only met once previously, at the 2005 Confederations Cup in Germany when the North Africans ran out 2-0 victors.

Kadri is hoping to get more strong support from the locals in Al Wakrah after the Tunisians received good backing in the stands against the Danes.

“The fan factor was very positive for us. It mentally gave us a great lift and we are looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that for us,” Kadri admitted. “It really helped us in the game, but tactically and physically we did well too.

“We are in strong group and today we have one point. This will give us energy for the next game.”

Australia got off to a dream start against France, taking the lead through Craig Goodwin after just nine minutes but mistakes cost them as the defending champions replied with four goals of their own to secure a 4-1 victory.

Graham Arnold’s team qualified for the global showpiece by beating Peru in the inter-confederation playoffs and are looking to reach the last 16 for the first time since 2006, having been eliminated at the group stages in the previous four editions.

Arnold acknowledged that Les Bleus’ quality shone through on Tuesday but he remains optimistic after seeing the Socceroos make a good start to the game.

“I think at the end of the day, the quality of the French team [was the reason for the win]. They are the previous champions for a reason,” he said.

“We started very well. Physically they were so much bigger, faster and stronger than us today. Overall, the boys did everything they could and that is all I can ask.

“We have built the belief and the energy and the focus in the last week since we have been in camp. The way we started, we believed. That is what we trained on – that type of goal.

“But we were punished by our mistakes. Their crosses were bang on target. That game is gone. It is good that the other result was a draw. Now it is about winning on Saturday. We have to get ready for it.”

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