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Australia ruin Tunisia’s round of 16 chances

By Guardian Nigeria
27 November 2022   |   5:56 am
Tunisia’s chances of scaling the group stage hurdles into Round of 16 at the on-going Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup suffered a big blow yesterday, as they lost 0-1 to the Socceroos of Australia.

Robert Lewandowski was the match hero for Poland, yesterday Photo: BBCSports

Poland Overpower Saudi Arabia

Tunisia’s chances of scaling the group stage hurdles into Round of 16 at the on-going Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup suffered a big blow yesterday, as they lost 0-1 to the Socceroos of Australia. The match took place at the Al Janoub Stadium.

A first-half header from Mitch Duke was enough to see off the North Africans and ignite Australia’s hopes of progressing to the World Cup knockout stages.

Duke converted Craig Goodwin’s left-wing cross in the 23rd minute with the Socceroos having to withstand some late pressure to secure a win that means they head into their final Group D clash with Denmark with all to play for.

Tunisia have a solitary point from their two games and will have to beat defending champions, France, on Wednesday and hope other results go their way.

Tunisia, one of the five African flag bearers, were looking to qualify from their FIFA World Cup group for the first time. The 1-0 loss has put that dream on hold.

When they played a 0-0 with Denmark in their first match, it was their first clean sheet at the World Cup since 1978 when they played a 0-0 draw with the then West Germany. For Australia, their 1-0 win yesterday means a first clean sheet since 1974.

Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski scored his first World Cup goal as Poland earned a crucial victory over Saudi Arabia that leaves Group C wide open yesterday.

The Barcelona striker capitalised on an error by Saudi Arabia midfielder Abdelulelah Al Malki before sending a composed finish past onrushing goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais.

Lewandowski was visibly emotional after ending a run of four World Cup games without finding the net. Piotr Zielinski had given Poland a first-half lead from Lewandowski’s cutback, but Saudi Arabia were awarded a penalty five minutes later for Krystian Bielik’s foul on Saleh Al Shehri.

Wojciech Szczesny kept out Feras Al Brikan’s effort before producing a sensational one-handed stop to prevent Mohammed Al Burayk from burying the rebound.

Saud Abdulhamid was denied by Sczcesny and Al Brikan shot over the bar in the second half, while Arkadiusz Milik and Lewandowski were both denied by the woodwork as Poland sought to increase their lead on the counter-attack.

Lewandowski’s late strike ended Saudi Arabia’s hopes of building on Tuesday’s remarkable victory over Argentina and boosts Poland’s hopes of reaching the last 16 for the first time since 1986, when they were beaten 4-0 by Brazil in the first knockout round.

Czeslaw Michniewicz’s team need just one point against Argentina on Wednesday to qualify from Group C, while Saudi Arabia face Mexico for a place in the last 16.