Australia held on to a narrow first-half lead to pick up a crucial victory over Tunisia that keeps alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.
Knowing defeat would see them make an early exit from the competition, Graham Arnold’s side came out of the blocks full of energy and intent.
Mitchell Duke took advantage of their positive start when he superbly flicked Craig Goodwin’s cross into the far corner to put them 1-0 up after 23 minutes.
That sparked an outburst of jubilant celebration from the small contingent of Australia fans behind the goal, which momentarily silenced the hostile and unwavering support for Tunisia.
Hissed and jeered throughout by striking clusters of Tunisia fans draped in red at the Al Janoub Stadium, Australia held their nerve to claim their first victory at a World Cup since 2010.
They survived a desperate onslaught from Tunisia in the second half, with Youssef Msakni forcing goalkeeper Mathew Ryan into a save at his near post, though that came moments after Mathew Leckie had come inches away from connecting with Goodwin’s cross at the other end.
Stoke City defender Harry Souttar put in a superb performance, making several key blocks and tackles as Australia dug in.
Australia, who suffered a humbling defeat by France in their opening match, will take on tough opponents Denmark next – but with qualification in their own hands.
More to follow.
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- 6BronnSubstituted forKechridaat 73′minutes
- 20DrägerSubstituted forSassiat 45′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 14LaïdouniBooked at 26minsSubstituted forKhazriat 67′minutes
- 24AbdiBooked at 64mins
- 9JebaliSubstituted forKhenissiat 73′minutes
- 15Ben Romdhane
- 22Ben Saïd
- 25Ben Slimane
- 5KaracicSubstituted forDegenekat 75′minutes
- 7LeckieSubstituted forBaccusat 85′minutes
- 23GoodwinSubstituted forMabilat 85′minutes
- 15DukeSubstituted forMaclarenat 64′minutes
- 14McGreeSubstituted forHrusticat 64′minutes
- Daniel Siebert
Match ends, Tunisia 0, Australia 1.
Second Half ends, Tunisia 0, Australia 1.
Ferjani Sassi (Tunisia) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.
Hand ball by Ferjani Sassi (Tunisia).
Foul by Taha Yassine Khenissi (Tunisia).
Milos Degenek (Australia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Montassar Talbi (Tunisia).
Milos Degenek (Australia) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Wajdi Kechrida.
Attempt blocked. Naïm Sliti (Tunisia) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Taha Yassine Khenissi.
Attempt blocked. Taha Yassine Khenissi (Tunisia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Australia. Keanu Baccus replaces Mathew Leckie.
Substitution, Australia. Awer Mabil replaces Craig Goodwin.
Attempt saved. Montassar Talbi (Tunisia) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Ali Abdi (Tunisia).
Ajdin Hrustic (Australia) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Tunisia. Conceded by Harry Souttar.
Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jackson Irvine (Australia).
Substitution, Australia. Milos Degenek replaces Fran Karacic.
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