In a sheer heartbreak, Tunisia failed to qualify for the knockout stage despite upstaging France 1-0 in a Group D match as Australia overcame Denmark with the same score line on Thursday.
The two matches, being the last of the group stage in the FIFA World Cup being played in Qatar, were played simultaneously – a practice since 1994 after the controversies in the 1990 edition held in Italy.
Wahbi Khazri scored the decisive goal in the 58th minute with a fantastic solo run as Tunisia took full advantage of Didier Deschamps making nine changes to his France side and resting Kylian Mbappe.
France opted for this strategy as they had already qualified for the next round and they thought it necessary to avoid any injuries.
However, the goal prompted the substitutions including the introduction of Mbappe and Antonio Griezmann as France started to put pressure.
It produced the result too as Griezmann fired home in the dying moments of the injury time. But the goal was overruled after eventual VAR review which spotted him offside in the build-up.
But the Tunisians players in the dugout and the spectators in the stadium were not happy. In fact, there was no massive jubilations after victory.
The reason? They knew that Australia had defeated Denmark 1-0, meaning that the Australia ended up second with six points while Tunisia could manage four only.
Australia crush Denmark
Australia overpowered Denmark – a team ranked 28 places above the Socceroos in FIFA’s World Rankings – to reach the World Cup knockout stages thanks to a brilliant goal from Mathew Leckie that secured a 1-0 victory.
A goalless draw between Australia and Denmark and a Tunisia win would have put the Carthage Eagles through to the knockout stages.
Just four minutes later, with their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread, the Socceroos counter-attacked from their box and Riley McGree found Leckie on a well-timed run.
Leckie then jinked past two Danish defenders and rolled the ball past Kasper Schmeichel into the net, prompting wild celebrations with his team.
Denmark continued to press but Australia hung on in a tense finish to secure its spot in the round of 16 and win back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time in its history.