Tunisia bowed out of World Cup 2022 despite claiming their first-ever competitive victory against France thanks to Wahbi Khazri’s second-half strike.
France, who had a late Antoine Griezmann strike ruled out by VAR in the final few seconds, still finished top of Group D, with Australia beating Denmark to join them in the Round of 16 as runners-up.
With both sides making wholesale changes, it was Tunisia — needing a victory to have any hope of progressing — who made the brighter start, Nader Ghandri having an early effort ruled out by the offside flag.
The African side remained on top for the remainder of the first half, although France’s reshuffled attack still carried a threat, Kingsley Coman passing up the best chance of the opening period as he sliced wide having been played in by Youssouf Fofana’s run.
Khazri was at the heart of Tunisia’s better moments throughout the opening period, Steve Mandanda parrying his shot, but the goalkeeper was beaten two minutes before the hour.
Ellyes Skhiri robbed Fofana on halfway and Khazri was allowed to run straight at the heart of the France backline, skipping round Raphael Varane before placing a low left-foot shot past Mandanda.
Didier Deschamps responded with a triple substitution that included Kylian Mbappe, with Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele following him shortly afterwards, but France failed to significantly threaten until the final few moments.
Adrien Rabiot pulled a shot wide when well placed before Mbappe’s shot was saved by Aymen Dahmen and Randal Kolo Muani’s effort was deflected just wide.
Tunisia’s resolve looked to have finally cracked when Griezmann volleyed in eight minutes into added time, but the effort was ruled out for offside after a long VAR check, ensuring Tunisia enjoyed a memorable result to conclude their Qatar 2022 campaign.
Tunisia vs France final score
TUN — Khazri (58′)
Tunisia lineup (3-4-2-1, right to left): 16. Dahmen (GK) — 4. Meriah, 5. Ghandri, 3. Talbi — 21. Kechrida, 17. Skhiri, 14. Laidouni, 12. Maaloul — 25. Ben Slimane (24. Abdi 83′), 15. Ben Romdhane (18. Chaalali 74′) — 10. Khazri (9. Jebali 60′)
France lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 16. Mandanda (GK) — 3. Disasi, 4. Varane (17. Saliba 63′), 24. Konate, 25. Camavinga — 13. Fofana (7. Griezmann 73′), 8. Tchouameni, 15. Veretout (14. Rabiot 63′)— 6. Guendouzi (11. Dembele 79), 12. Kolo Muani, 20. Coman (10. Mbappe 63′)
Tunisia vs France as it happened, highlights from 2022 World Cup
FULLTIME: Tunisia have won it after all! Australia have held on to beat Denmark to finish second in Group D behind France, but Tunisia have the consolation of beating the world champions as they bow out!
90+10 mins: But no! Antoine Griezmann’s goal is disallowed as he was in an offside position earlier in the move!
GOAL! 90+8 mins: France have snatched a draw at the death! Tunisia are unable to get the ball clear this time and it falls for Antoine Griezmann to lash a right-foot volley into the net!
90+6 mins: Tunisia still penned back. It’s been some desperate defending at times, but it’s paying off, for now. Don’t forget they also need Denmark to level against Australia, though.
90+3 mins: Kylian Mbappe’s shot is straight into the Tunisia wall but the PSG forward retrieves it and sends in a bouncing effort that Aymen Dahmen, who was nearly caught out, manages to push away. Just!
90+2 mins: Kylian Mbappe is in the mood now. An exchange of pass with Antoine Griezmann ends with Ghailene Chaalali clipping his heels, and it’s a France freekick 20m from goal in a central position.
90 mins: Even closer from Randal Kolo Muani at the culmination of a France move full of one-touch flicks; his shot takes a nick off a defender and slides just wide.
Eight minutes added time, which probably isn’t what Tunisia want to see.
89 mins: A flash of brilliance from Kylian Mbappe, who beats first one man then another down the left and whips in a shot that Aymen Dahmen dives to his left to push away.
85 mins: France nearly catch out Tunisia with a big switch of play from left to right. Ousmane Dembele gets in a cross that finds Adrien Rabiot in space, but his fellow substitute falls to catch hold of his shot and the ball bobbles wide.
82 mins: For all their attacking changes, and their dominance of territory and ball, France are still yet to really trouble Tunisia in this second period.
79 mins: Yet another attacking change for France, Matteo Guendouzi, who’s been pretty anonymous, making way for Ousmane Dembele for the closing stages.
76 mins: Tunisia have put a great shift in but there’s some tired legs out there now as France push them back inside their own half. No clear chances yet but surely it’s only a matter of time.
73 mins: A first glimpse of goal for Kylian Mbappe, who smashes wide from range. Antoine Griezmann comes on as the holders push for a goal.
71 mins: France still can’t find any attacking fluency, despite the introduction of Kylian Mbappe.
67 mins: Didier Deschamps is looking a worried man on the sidelines, and no wonder. He can’t be happy with how his second string have performed here.
63 mins: Here comes the France cavalry. William Saliba, Adrien Rabiot and, in particular, Kylian Mbappe are on in response to that goal.
62 mins: Hold on though! Australia have just taken the lead against Denmark, which would send them through behind France as it stands. Tunisia need a Denmark goal now!
60 mins: That’s Wahbi Khazri’s last contribution of the evening, Issam Jebali coming on to take his place. That could yet be the goal that takes Tunisia into the knockout rounds for the first time.
GOAL! 58 mins: Tunisia have broken through! Wahbi Khazri has looked their most likely source of a goal all night and takes full advantage as Youssouf Fofana loses out to Ellyes Skhiri and Khazri is allowed to run straight through the France defence, drifting past Raphael Varane and slotting low past Steve Mandanda.
56 mins: Tunisia are certainly being given plenty of opportunity to get forward here; can they find more of a cutting edge when it matters?
52 mins: Youssouf Fofana goes down under Aissa Laidouni’s challenge, the Tunisian lifting a shot from a tight angle on the left over the bar.
50 mins: While Tunisia have started this second half as they ended the first, there’s a few signs France are beginning to go up a gear. There’s more pace and sharpness to their play since the restart.
48 mins: Wahbi Khazri goes down in the area again, Aurelien Tchouameni just getting enough of the ball. That’s a well-timed challenged by the France youngster; he had to get that one right.
46 mins: France get us started again. Will we get a goal in this one? With Australia and Denmark also goalless at the break, one goal for Tunisia would take them through as it stands.
HALFTIME That’s the end of the first 45 minutes in a contest Tunisia have dominated although France’s Kingsley Coman has had the best chance, slicing wide when well placed. Tunisia have looked the more consistently dangerous, although they may need to commit more men forward after the break.
45 mins: There will be two minutes added on at the end of this first half.
42 mins: Wahbi Khazri is played in down the right and slides an inviting ball across the face of the France goal. A sliding Aurelien Tchouameni turns it behind, although the flag goes up in any case.
41 mins: France looking every bit a team who have made nine changes for this one. There’s been very little rhythm or cohesion to their play.
38 mins: France come forward again, Randal Kolo Muani turning sharply and heading towards goal before playing the ball in to Youssouf Fofana, whose attempted return pass is cut out.
35 mins: Steve Mandanda does just enough after Raphael Varane’s poor clearance is cut out by Wahbi Khazri, who lashes a left-foot shot towards goal that the France goalkeeper manages to get down and push out.
33 mins: Safe to say this has been a slow start at both ends…
30 mins: Here’s another chance for Tunisia, however, Steve Mandanda diving to his left to gather Anis Ben Slimane’s header.
28 mins: Tunisia look like they might be starting to run out of steam here, and Wajdi Kechrida picks up the first yellow card of the night for a late, sliding challenge on Eduardo Camavinga.
25 mins: Kingsley Coman should do much, much better here. Youssouf Fofana drives at the heart of the Tunisia backline, before slipping the ball to his left for the onrushing Coman. A first touch takes him too wide, however, and the second is even worse, slicing the shot behind. France’s best move of the match.
23 mins: France definitely looking more assured now, moving the ball around at pace, although a long ball sets Wajdi Kechrida through one-on-one against Ibrahima Konate. The Liverpool central defender does well, though, holding him up and even playing the ball off the Tunisian to win a goal-kick.
20 mins: France look like they might have settled down a little, with Eduardo Camavinga looking considerably more comfortable going forward.
16 mins: Wonderful control and flick from Aissa Laidouni on the Tunisia right, knocking the ball between Eduardo Camavinga’s legs and winning a freekick.
13 mins: Wahbi Khazri wants a penalty as he goes down under Ibrahima Konate’s challenge, but he falls far too easily and nothing doing.
11 mins: France’s new-look side are struggling to find any coherence at the moment. They’re giving the ball away frequently and have failed to put a move of note together yet.
8 mins: Tunisia have the ball in the net as Nader Ghandri brilliantly flicks in a Wahbi Khazri freekick from the left… but the celebrations are cut short by the assistant referee’s flag. Fractionally offside, but another warning for France.
4 mins: It’s been a positive start for Tunisia, who have the majority of the crowd on their side. Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane makes a promising run down the left before Anis Ben Slimane wins a corner that Raphael Varane has to hook away from the France goalmouth.
1 min: An early wakeup call for Steve Mandanda, who has to race out to claim the ball as Anis Ben Slimane tries to muscle past Raphael Varane.
KICKOFF: Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri gets us started and the final 90 minutes in FGroup D is underway.
5 mins from kickoff: The teams emerge from the tunnel, and the Group D denouement is moments away.
10 mins from kickoff: France, who need a draw to make sure of finishing first in Group D, are the first World Cup holders to reach the round of 16 since Brazil in 2006.
Tunisia kick off bottom with one point and need what would be only their third win in 18 World Cup matches to have any hope of overhauling Australia and Denmark to finish second. They also need Australia to not beat the Danes in today’s other game.
15 mins from kickoff: A landmark for France this evening, with Steve Mandanda in line to become his country’s oldest ever international. It’s also his 35th cap in a France career that started 14 years ago.
20 mins from kickoff: This is the fifth fixture between the sides, although a first competitive meeting. France have won two of the previous four games, drawing the other two including the most recent, a 1-1 friendly draw in May 2010.
25 mins from kickoff: France’s newlook squad are going through their paces. They’ll all be looking to make an impact here and force their way into Didier Deschamps’ thinking for the round of 16.
30 mins from kickoff: All to play for as Group D concludes. You can follow Australia v Denmark here.
40 mins from kickoff: A quick look inside the Tunisia dressing room; love that lighting!
50 mins from kickoff: Significant changes from both sides for this one. Tunisia make six from the side beaten by Australia, Wahbi Khazri – who plays his club football in France with Montpellier – coming in up front for his first start of the finals.
With qualification already assured Didier Deschamps opts to give most of his first-choice lineup a rest, although Raphael Varane does keep his place as he continues his comeback from injury. Axel Disasi comes in for his first start while Kingsley Coman and Randal Kolo Muani are joined up front by Mateo Guendouzi.
1 hr from kickoff: France have just named their team, and it’s a new-look starting lineup for the holders with most of the big guns rested.
1 hr 10 mins from kickoff: France, meanwhile, have just arrived at the Education City Stadium, so their team news won’t be long either.
1hr 15 mins from kickoff: Tunisia have named their team already!
1 hr 30 mins from kickoff: Can Tunisia get off the mark against Les Bleus?
2 hrs from kickoff: A little hint on France’s starting XI?
3 hrs from kickoff: French outlet RMC Sport are predicting Arsenal star William Saliba will make his World Cup debut for France as part of a reshuffled French XI in Al Rayyan.
3 hrs 30 mins from kickoff: All relaxed in the France camp with their last 16 spot already secured
4 hrs from kickoff: Can France reach seventh heaven against Tunisia?
4 hrs and 30 mins from kickoff: Kylian Mbappe has been SENSATIONAL for France so far in Qatar — but will he add to his goal tally today?
5 hrs from kickoff: Hello, and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of Tunisia vs. France. Will Kylian Mbappe continue his fine form in front of goal? Is he even going to start the match or will he be rested? Can Tunisia score their first goal of the tournament? We’ll soon be finding out the answers to all these questions. Let’s get going!
Tunisia vs. France lineups, team news
Tunisia midfielder Ellyes Skhiri is likely to play in a protective face mask again as he continues his recovery from a cheekbone fracture.
Jalel Kadri opted to use leftback Ali Maaloul while Wahbi Khazri, who plays his club football in France for Montpellier, came in up front for his first start of the tournament. Kadri added there are “no miracles” in football, while urging his players to produce their best performance of the group stage.
Tunisia lineup (3-4-2-1, right to left): 16. Dahmen (GK) — 4. Meriah, 5. Ghandri, 3. Talbi — 21. Kechrida, 17. Skhiri, 14. Laidouni, 12. Maaloul — 25. Ben Slimane, 15. Ben Romdhane — 10. Khazri
France were ravaged by injuries in the build-up to the tournament and coach Didier Deschamps acted to reduce the risk of being deprived of any more players. Les Bleus are set to be confirmed as group winners, unless they lose and Australia win, while overturning a six-goal inferiority in goal difference.
The likes of Raphael Varane and Jules Kounde played against Denmark, but have only just returned from injuries, Varane keeping his place for this one, while key players including Mbappe were saved for a potential Round-of-16 clash with Argentina.
France lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 16. Mandanda (GK) — 3. Disasi, 4. Varane, 24. Konate, 25. Camavinga — 13. Fofana, 8. Tchouameni, 15. Veretout — 6. Guendouzi, 12. Kolo Muani, 20. Coman