France's appeal against the decision to disallow Antoine Griezmann's goal in last week's shock 1-0 World Cup loss to Tunisia has been dismissed by FIFA.

Griezmann thought he had cancelled out Wahbi Khazri's strike when he volleyed home in the eighth minute of stoppage time at Education City Stadium.

However, after the celebrations had died down and the whistle had sounded for full-time, referee Michael Conger ruled out Griezmann's goal for an offside infringement.

The Atletico Madrid forward was adjudged to have been offside when firing in from Aurelien Tchouameni's pass, which was helped into his path by a Tunisia defender.

But the French Football Federation (FFF) felt the officials were wrong to disallow the goal as play had briefly restarted when VAR intervened, which is prohibited.

"We are writing a complaint after Antoine Griezmann's goal was, in our opinion, wrongly disallowed," the FFF said last Wednesday. 

Should France have been successful with their appeal, the scoreline would have been changed to 1-1, though the final positions in Group D would not have altered.

However, FIFA confirmed in a statement on Monday that they will not look any further into the matter.

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has dismissed the protest submitted by the French Football Association in relation to the Tunisia v France match," the statement read.

Khazri's superb strike ended reigning world champions France's nine-game unbeaten run in the competition stretching back to the 2014 quarter-finals.

Les Blues went on to beat Poland 3-1 in Sunday's last-16 tie and will now face England in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

France have filed a complaint to FIFA over the decision to disallow Antoine Griezmann's late goal in Wednesday's shock 1-0 World Cup loss to Tunisia.

Griezmann thought he had cancelled out Wahbi Khazri's strike when he volleyed home in the eighth minute of stoppage time at Education City Stadium.

However, after the celebrations had died down, referee Michael Conger ruled out Griezmann's goal for an offside infringement.

The Atletico Madrid forward was adjudged to have been offside when firing in from Aurelien Tchouameni's pass, which took a deflection off a Tunisian defender.

However, the French Football Federation (FFF) believe the officials were wrong to disallow the goal as play had already restarted when VAR intervened, which is prohibited.

"We are writing a complaint after Antoine Griezmann's goal was, in our opinion, wrongly disallowed," said a widely released statement from the FFF on Wednesday. 

"This complaint has to be filed within 24 hours after the final whistle."

Khazri's superb strike at Education City Stadium ended reigning world champions France's nine-game unbeaten run in the competition stretching back to the 2014 quarter-finals.

However, the result ultimately meant little in the context of Group D as France still went through in top spot and Australia claimed second place with a 1-0 win over Denmark.

Should France be successful with their appeal and the scoreline is changed to 1-1, the final points tallies in Group D will change but not the positions of any of the four sides.

Wahbi Khazri conceded it was a bittersweet evening after his winning goal against France proved insufficient for Tunisia to qualify for the World Cup knockout stages.

Khazri was named man of the match after a wonderful display capped by a 58th-minute goal that handed Tunisia a 1-0 win at Education City Stadium.

Unfortunately for Jalel Kadri’s men it was not enough to secure a place in the round of 16 as Australia beat Denmark 1-0 to finish second in Group D behind Les Bleus.

Khazri, who plays his club football in France for Montpellier, said: "It's a mixed feeling. We are happy to beat a team like France, we gave a very good performance and we leave with our heads held high but it's bittersweet as it would've been perfect to win and go through.

"Ultimately, it’s our fault as we didn’t do enough in the first two games."

Roared on by a boisterous support, Tunisia dominated a France team containing nine changes from that which beat the Danes on Saturday. Khazri had already tested Steve Mandanda in the France goal before, 13 minutes into the second half, he slalomed his way through a static backline and slotted into the bottom corner.

France thought they had found an injury-time equaliser but Antoine Griezmann, introduced off the bench by Didier Deschamps alongside Kylian Mbappe, was adjudged to have been offside before volleying past Aymen Dahmen.

Khazri had no excuses and blamed Tunisia’s display in their 1-0 defeat to Australia at the weekend as the reason why they are heading home.

"When I came off [in the 59th minute] I saw the score in the other game," he added. "We were hoping for a goal from Denmark but that’s what happens when you depend on others in football, and in life in general.

"I am sure the Tunisia fans are proud of us, it's a shame we cannot celebrate properly."

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri echoed Khazri’s sentiments but backtracked on an earlier claim that he would resign if his side did not progress.

"I don't know why you insist that I resign," he said. "We have been able to continue our work and the contract I have in Tunisia is based on objectives. The objectives were not fulfilled but we still have to do the analysis, and it will be up to the Tunisian Federation to decide if I have achieved the targets or not.

"We beat the defending champions and did our best. It wasn't easy to collect four points. We played well for five and a half halves with only one – against Australia – not being good enough."

Deschamps defended his decision to make so many changes with his second-string side producing a disjointed display.

He said: "We came up against a strong squad and were timid, late into the one on ones and made technical errors. But when we brought on the more experienced players, we had a couple of goalscoring opportunities and thought we'd equalised at the end of the game.

"The first objective was to secure a place in the round of 16. We took this game into consideration but [our approach] will pay off in a few days' time.

"We need all 24 players to be available to play on Sunday. We needed to juggle the squad.

"Say if we'd won, it wouldn't have changed the fact we play in four days' time and we topped the group."

Deschamps was mystified by the decision to disallow Griezmann's goal, with VAR intervening after New Zealand referee Matthew Conger had already appeared to have blown the final whistle.

"I need to look at the rules maybe but why did the referee blow the final whistle and then look at VAR?" he added. "I'm not sure this is allowed."

France will play the team that finishes second in Group C on Sunday – one of Poland, Argentina, Saudi Arabia or Mexico.

Tunisia enjoyed a famous 1-0 win over France but it was not enough for them to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Needing a win and Denmark to avoid defeat to Australia to stand any chance, Jalel Kadri's men fulfilled their end of the bargain with a stirring performance that was rewarded by Wahbi Khazri's superb second-half strike.

But Australia's 1-0 win over Denmark meant it was the Socceroos that accompanied France in qualifying from Group D.

France were already guaranteed a place in the last 16 and that was reflected in Didier Deschamps' starting XI, Les Bleus' boss making nine changes from the team that beat the Danes on Saturday.

France looked like a team thrown together for the most part, although Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann were sent on to rescue the situation shortly after the defending champions fell behind. Griezmann almost came up trumps but saw his stoppage-time strike ruled out for offside.

Khazri was behind most of Tunisia’s best moments and he almost helped conjure up the opener after eight minutes. His vicious, inswinging free-kick eluded the France defence and was turned in by Nader Ghandri only for his effort to be ruled out by an offside flag.

Khazri came close himself 10 minutes before the break, forcing goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to palm his long-range shot to safety.

In between, Randal Kolo Muani played in Kingsley Coman but his first touch was poor, leading him to slice his shot wide.

Khazri's next significant involvement resulted in the opening goal. The Montpellier man, who has spent the bulk of his career playing in France, picked the ball up 40 yards from goal and slalomed his way through the France defence before slotting past Mandanda.

Deschamps turned to his big guns but they could not find a way past a resolute Tunisia defence, although they came close three times - Mbappe forcing a brilliant save from Aymen Dahmen following a wonderful piece of skill before Kolo Muani shot narrowly wide. Then, in injury time, Griezmann fired in only for VAR to intervene with the goal disallowed for offside.

 

Didier Deschamps may opt to rest some of his key players for Wednesday's clash against Tunisia with France already through to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Wins against Australia and Denmark mean the defending champions are almost guaranteed to finish top of Group D and, with such a packed schedule, Deschamps has the luxury of being able to leave out the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.

Les Bleus had Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku ruled out before the tournament started while first-choice left-back Lucas Hernandez lasted just 13 minutes of their opening game against the Socceroos before sustaining a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, and Deschamps seems unlikely to risk more of his star men.

Hernandez has been replaced by his brother Theo, although he too may be left out against Tunisia given the lack of depth on the left side of defence.

That could mean Jules Kounde makes the move across from right-back, something the Barcelona defender would be willing to do.

Kounde said: "It's another chance to play in the France team. I've always tried to do my best and play with a lot of desire. 

"Left-back would be another position. I think I've played it once, we'll see what the coach decides."

Kounde got the nod at right-back against Denmark in place of Benjamin Pavard, who started France's opener against Australia.

"It's healthy competition," Kounde said of his battle with the Bayern Munich man. "We try to bring the maximum when we play. I have to bring more offensively and improve technically."

Tunisia have taken one point from their two games and have yet to score. The 1-0 defeat to Australia on Saturday was a major blow to their hopes of advancing, and they must beat France to stand any chance.

Coach Jalel Kadri is also considering changes in a bid to improve their creativity.

He said: "We lost a crucial match, but we will give everything we have in the last game.

"We don't change the team for the sake of changing, but we make adjustments to adapt to the way the rival teams play. We will analyse our performance and fix our mistakes."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tunisia - Youssef Msakni

Although Tunisia were largely disappointing against the Socceroos, Msakni had a fine game. The Al Arabi attacker had six shots against Australia, the most ever by a Tunisia player in a single World Cup match. 

If Tunisia are to cause a stunning upset, his partnership with Issam Jebali will be key.

 

France - Ousmane Dembele

Mbappe and Giroud may have stolen the headlines but Dembele has been a revelation down the right side of France's attack.

Only four players have created more chances over the first two matchdays while only Argentina's Angel Di Maria has made more successful dribbles.

PREDICTION

France are understandably overwhelming favourites to make it three wins from three Group D games. Stats Perform's AI model rates them a 62 per cent chance to take the three points with Tunisia's hopes rated at just 14.5 per cent. A draw is given a 23.5 per cent chance.

France boss Didier Deschamps dismissed suggestions striker Kylian Mbappe has an ego, and denied the Paris Saint-Germain star would influence his team selection for Wednesday's game against Tunisia.

Les Bleus have already secured their place in the knockout stage following wins over Australia and Denmark, meaning Deschamps is set to make several changes to his side for the Group D match at Education City Stadium.

Deschamps was not willing to go into detail on his starting XI but swatted aside a question implying Mbappe's ego would mean he'd demand to start.

"His fitness is fine so we don't need to manage that, so you are saying we have to manage his ego?" he said.

"What do you know about that? I know but you don't. Kylian doesn't have a big ego, that's not true.

"He's a key player but he's a team player. Of course, he's a star but he's not 18 years old anymore, he's more experienced.

"He wants to play tomorrow but not all of them can start the match, that's normal.

"You can imagine lots of things but I have a lot of factors to take into account. And my information is first hand, straight from the horse's mouth."

Tunisia must beat France and hope Denmark avoid defeat by Australia to be in contention to qualify, and Deschamps knows he has to balance his squad's needs with the integrity of the competition.

He added: "We are going through so we don't need to go all out for the victory, and it looks like we are going to win the group.

"But this is a World Cup game against an opponent that needs a result go through, and Australia and Denmark are also playing for their qualification. We will try to get the best result possible.

"I am going to have to manage the squad, I have a lot of things to take into account. I have some more time to make my decision - you will find out tomorrow - but yes, there will be changes, I just can't tell you how many."

There were reports on Monday that Deschamps' injury-hit squad may be boosted by the return of striker Karim Benzema, who sustained a recurrence of a thigh problem on the eve of the tournament, but has remained on France's squad list.

Benzema has left Qatar to receive treatment but Les Bleus' boss was baffled by talk of an imminent comeback for the Ballon d'Or winner.

"I am not sure, that's not something I am thinking about," he said. "Who is saying that?

"I talked to Karim after he left the squad but you know the situation, you know how long it will take him to recover. It is up to you if you want to speculate and imagine scenarios, that's not what I am focusing on at the moment."

France, Brazil and Portugal are the only sides to have already secured World Cup knockout football, with numerous teams facing a nervy final matchday as they bid to reach the round of 16 in Qatar.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil breezed through Group G with wins over Serbia and Switzerland, while France became the first reigning world champions to escape the group stage since the Selecao in 2006.

Portugal made sure of their round-of-16 spot after Monday's Group H victory over Uruguay, yet the likes of England, Spain, Germany and Argentina all need results on matchday three to progress.

The Netherlands are another big name that have yet to confirm their place in the latter stages of FIFA's top tournament, while Belgium face a tense Group F clash with Croatia to avoid an early exit.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the permutations riding on the final selection of group-stage action in the Middle East.

Group A

The Netherlands are largely in control of Group A, needing to just avoid defeat against the already eliminated hosts, Qatar.

Louis van Gaal's side will also reach the round of 16 if Ecuador beat Senegal, who have to win otherwise Aliou Cisse's side will rely on a somewhat unlikely win for Qatar over the Netherlands to remain in contention.

Ecuador, who have impressed in their first two games, must win or draw against Senegal to progress. However, Gustavo Alfaro's men could go through in defeat if Qatar beat the Netherlands.

Group B

A win or a draw is enough for England against fierce rivals Wales. Yet, the Three Lions would still progress as long as they avoid a four-goal defeat against Wales, whose goal difference is six fewer.

Iran are guaranteed to qualify with victory over the United States, who know anything other than a win against Carlos Queiroz's side will see them eliminated from the competition.

Quieroz's men could still escape Group B with a draw, though goal difference would come into play if Wales pick up their first win at the tournament against Gareth Southgate's England.

Group C

All four teams can still make it out of an enticing Group C, with Argentina – who were among the pre-tournament favourites – needing to beat Poland to guarantee a round-of-16 place.

La Albiceleste could progress with a draw, however, and would be through in that instance if Mexico and Saudi Arabia also share the spoils.

Yet, if Lionel Scaloni's men are held and Herve Renard's men beat El Tri, Argentina will be eliminated. If Mexico win and Argentina draw, it goes to goal difference.

Poland would go through by avoiding defeat, but would be knocked out by a loss coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory over Mexico, who must win to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.

If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, the two teams will have to be separated by goal difference, which will also be used if Czeslaw Michniewicz's side are defeated and Mexico win.

Group D

France are already in the round-of-16 draw and will top Group D as long as they do not lose to Tunisia and Australia do not defeat Denmark, otherwise the Socceroos would move level on six points with Les Bleus.

While victory would take Australia through, Graham Arnold's side would still reach the knockout stage with a draw unless Tunisia beat France, which would see Jalel Kadri's men progress on goal difference.

Denmark would grab qualification with a win over Australia unless Tunisia triumph over France, which would leave goal difference or goals scored to separate the Carthage Eagles and Kasper Hjulmand's men.

Group E

Spain are the favourites to progress from Group E, requiring a win or draw against Japan. Defeat would see Luis Enrique's side still go through on goal difference, unless Germany lose to Costa Rica.

Germany must pick up three points to stay in contention and would qualify as long as Spain defeat Japan, though a draw in the latter game or a win for Hajime Moriyasu's men would see goal difference needed.

A win for Japan over Spain would take Moriyasu's side through, while a draw – coupled with a stalemate for Germany – would also see the Samurai Blue make the knockout stage.

Costa Rica would earn a last-16 spot with victory and a point would also take them through if Spain overcome Japan. A draw in both games or a defeat for Fernando Suarez's side sees them eliminated.

Group F

Croatia will pass through Group F if they avoid defeat against Belgium, who require victory against the 2018 runners-up to guarantee a place in the round of 16.

Such a win for Belgium would leave Croatia needing already eliminated Canada to overcome Morocco, with goal difference coming into play to separate Zlatko Dalic's side from the Atlas Lions.

A draw is likely not enough for Belgium. They would need Morocco to lose to Canada and then rely on goal difference, though Walid Regragui's men (+2) hold the advantage over Roberto Martinez's side (-1) in the decisive metric.

Morocco would progress with victory over Canada, while a defeat would see Regragui's side reliant on Belgium beating Croatia for goal difference to be decisive between Dalic's men and the Atlas Lions for second.

Group G

Brazil have secured knockout football and will finish as Group G winners with anything other than defeat against Cameroon, who need victory against Tite's side and results to go their way to make the last 16.

Rigobert Song's men would be eliminated if they do not win, though victory is not guaranteed to secure progression as Switzerland could play out a high-scoring draw with Serbia to go through on goals scored, which is used if sides cannot be separated on goal difference – Cameroon are currently on -1 and Switzerland level in the latter metric.

The somewhat expected scenario of Cameroon losing to Brazil would see Serbia and Switzerland become a winner-takes-all clash. 

Dragan Stojkovic's side need victory to progress in that instance, while a draw would be enough for Switzerland. Goal difference would be required if Serbia (-2) and Cameroon (-1) both win their final encounters.

Group H

Portugal are already through and would top Group H by avoiding defeat against South Korea, who could still make a late charge for the round-of-16 stage should the result between Uruguay and Ghana go their way.

The permutations are straightforward for Uruguay and South Korea, who must win to avoid elimination, though qualification is not assured even with victory.

Both teams would be level on four points with victories, again leading to goal difference to separate. Yet, if Ghana beat Uruguay then South Korea's result against Portugal will prove irrelevant for Paulo Bento's side.

A draw for Ghana and a win for South Korea would also see goal difference required to split the two sides, with Bento's men trailing the Black Stars by one in that metric, which could mean goals scored comes into it.

Raphael Varane says France must avoid comparing their current squad to the team that won the 2018 World Cup, after reaching the knockout stage at Qatar 2022.

Les Bleus are looking to defend the title they won in Russia, and are into the last 16 after opening victories against Australia and Denmark in Group D.

Varane, who returned from an injury sustained on club duty with Manchester United to feature in his country's second game, was a member of Didier Deschamps' side that beat Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow four years ago.

But the centre-back says the current crop must dodge the pitfalls of measuring their current achievements against those set before, despite the presence of several World Cup-winning players.

"You have to avoid making too many comparisons," he stated. "This is another moment, and you have to be present.

"Each major tournament has its history, with different players and contexts. Four years in football is an eternity.

"We can draw inspiration from before, from the state of mind that we had then, but we must not try to copy."

France – who play Tunisia in their final group game on Wednesday – will be without World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez for the rest of the tournament after he suffered a knee injury in their opening clash with Australia.

His brother Theo has deputised at left-back since, replacing Hernandez in the first half against Australia and continuing in the position against Denmark.

Reflecting on his sibling's injury, Theo Hernandez claimed his brother has requested the World Cup be brought back for him, saying: "Since he left [the squad], I have spoken with him every day.

"He tells me that we have to win, to bring him back the World Cup. We will have to work hard to continue like this though."

Coach Graham Arnold wants his Australia players to swiftly forget their 1-0 World Cup win over Tunisia and turn their attention to securing qualification for the knockout stage against Denmark.

Mitchell Duke scored the only goal, glancing home Craig Goodwin's deflected cross in the 23rd minute, before the Socceroos withstood some concerted Tunisia pressure to secure their first win at a World Cup in 12 years and first clean sheet since 1974.

The win moves Australia on to three points and with renewed hope of advancing out of Group D. Next up on Wednesday is a clash with the Danes and that has already become the focus of Arnold's attention.

Asked about his approach to that game, he said: "We've got to see what the result is tonight [between France and Denmark] but nothing will change, we’ll focus on ourselves and getting ourselves right.

"I am very proud but we've achieved nothing. We can talk after about one win and that it hasn't been done for 12 years and all that stuff.

"We are here to go as far as we can go. I don't want the players sitting up all night looking at social media, we need to recover well and get ready for Denmark."

The goal was a special moment for Duke and he celebrated by making a J sign with his fingers to son Jaxson, who was watching on from the stands. Television images showed his son replying in kind.

Duke said: "I spoke to my son and told him I was going to score – you have to have that belief that you are going to score in every match. I told my son that I was going to share that moment with him."

The 31-year-old, who plays in Japan with second division side Fagiano Okayama, was reunited with Jaxson and daughter Chloe at the start of November and admitted it was difficult being apart from his family.

"Definitely, when the final whistle went and I was interviewed by TV, I was trying to hold back the tears," he added. "I have been on my own a lot over the last couple of years and there has been a lot of sacrifice. It's the best feeling in the world."

Tunisia must now beat defending champions France on Wednesday and hope other results go their way if they are to go through.

Coach Jalel Kadri bemoaned his side's lack of cutting edge but insisted all was not lost.

He said: "During the first half, we did not perform the way we wanted to, Australia led us into playing a style we did not like.

"They dominated the game, created one chance and scored and unfortunately we could not equalise. We changed tactics two or three times in the second half and created four or five chances but we were not clinical enough. They were very efficient in converting their chance.

"The World Cup has a surprise for everyone, even the larger teams have been beaten by the underdogs. We were not expecting to lose [to Australia] but we have one game to go and we will play our hearts out."

A first-half header from Mitch Duke was enough to see off Tunisia and ignite Australia's hopes of progressing to the World Cup knockout stages in a 1-0 victory.

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.

Australia shaded a frantic opening but could not profit from a series of crosses into the Tunisia box.

Delivering the ball from wide areas was clearly a key part of the Australia strategy and it paid dividends midway through the first half. Duke started the move with a deft touch in midfield before racing into the box to cleverly glance Goodwin’s deflected cross past Tunisia goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen.

Tunisia grew as an attacking force as the first half progressed and could have levelled twice before the break.

After 41 minutes, robust play from Issam Jebali saw him pick out Mohamed Drager at the far post only for defender Harry Souttar to race across to block his goalbound shot.

The tireless Jebali then turned up on the right but his low centre was fired wide by captain Youssef Msakni.

Tunisia dominated possession in the second half but their desperation to find an equaliser almost saw them undone again after 71 minutes - substitute Jamie Maclaren escaping down the left before delivering a low cross that was inches in front of the sliding Mathew Leckie.

A second goal was not required in the end as Australia's resolute backline - in which Souttar was outstanding - did enough to keep Tunisia out and register just the Socceroos' second clean sheet in 18 World Cup matches.

Australia and Tunisia are hungry to snatch a rare World Cup victory when they meet at Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday, knowing they could take a huge step towards the knockout stage.

After Australia were torched 4-1 by France, Graham Arnold will look to rouse his side for a clash with a Tunisia side who revelled in having huge support against Denmark, earning a 0-0 draw against the European Championship semi-finalists.

That result for Tunisia – just a second clean sheet for the team in 16 matches at the World Cup – has raised hopes of advancing beyond the group stage for the first time, at what is their sixth World Cup.

"We want to get past this round, this is our main objective, and we're quite optimistic about achieving this goal," said coach Jalel Kadri.

It is a lip-smacking opportunity for them against a Socceroos side who took the lead against France before being blown away by the firepower of the World Cup holders.

Australia have lost 11 of their 17 games at the World Cup (65 per cent), and have failed to win in their last seven outings on this stage, their longest winless streak in the competition.

Tunisia had just 38.7 per cent of the ball against Denmark and their passing accuracy in the opposition half was a disappointing 55.4 per cent; however, they won a healthy 55.8 per cent of duels.

Australia had just 37.6 per cent of possession against France, and the outcome of that game means they have now managed only one clean sheet in 17 World Cup games.

Kadri said: "We're playing a strong group and today we have one point, and we should invest this energy we have in the next match as well."

He said of the crowd's raucous support for his team: "It gives us a great lift and we're looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that."

Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine, who plays club football in Germany for St Pauli, wants to see a response after the France result.

He said: "To feel disappointed... is huge testament to the mentality of the group and that desire to win and get results, and it's definitely something we have in us all the time and continue to have going into these next couple of huge games."

Citing the "very different opposition", Irvine predicted: "The game will flow in a totally different way."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tunisia – Issam Jebali

Jebali had Tunisia's best opportunities in the Denmark game, with his three goal chances being worth a total of 0.53 expected goals (xG) out of a team total of 0.92. Denmark's Andreas Cornelius (0.93) was the only player on the pitch with a higher xG score, having missed a golden close-range chance to win the game.

Tunisia will hope for Jebali to be sharper with his finishing against Australia. Kadri has Wahbi Khazri waiting in the wings, promising he will "get his chance", with many surprised the Montpellier man played no part against Denmark.

Australia – Mat Ryan

Goalkeeper Ryan and winger Mathew Leckie could both make their eighth World Cup starts for Australia, setting a new national record at the finals.

Ryan suffered against France as Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Co made his day a misery, and he will be looking to earn a rare World Cup shut-out this time around.

PREDICTION

Tunisia are given a 47.6 per cent chance of winning this one, while Australia have only a 25.6 per cent prospect of snatching the three points, according to Opta's AI model.

The draw, therefore, is a 27.1 per cent possibility, but with the stakes so high, victory is imperative for both teams. A draw, you might imagine, would likely be a crushing blow to each team's hopes of reaching the last-16 stage.

This will be just the third meeting between Tunisia and Australia – Australia won 3-0 in a friendly in 1997, before Tunisia won 2-0 at the 2005 Confederations Cup.

Denmark midfielder Thomas Delaney has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup after he was forced off with an injury in their Group D opener with Tunisia.

The Sevilla player started for Kasper Hjulmand's side in Tuesday's goalless draw in Al Rayyan, but exited the game during first-half injury time to be replaced by Mikkel Damsgaard.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the 31-year-old has suffered a knee injury which not only curtails his immediate involvement but spells the end of his tournament, in a blow to Denmark's hopes.

“We will miss him, both on and off the pitch," Hjulmand said after the news was revealed in a brief statement.

"Other players are ready, and we have a strong squad for the next matches."

A 72-cap veteran, Delaney was an essential figure in the nation's run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 in the wake of Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest last year.

With the Manchester United playmaker recovered and back in the fold, Denmark had been tipped as a potential dark horse contender ahead of the tournament.

A struggle to find a result against a stubborn Tunisia, however, has set up an intriguing path to the knockout rounds through the rest of Group D.

Denmark will face defending champions France on November 26, before meeting Australia four days later on November 30.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said noisy support for Tunisia "gave them wings" as his team could only scrape a 0-0 draw in their World Cup opener.

While Tunisia were lifted by their large contingent of fans at Education City Stadium, Denmark struggled to produce the form that took them to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

Hjulmand insisted his players were not shaken by the vociferous backing for their opponents, but he acknowledged the opposition benefited from the crowd's passion.

"I've great respect for Tunisian football and how much it means for a country like Tunisia," Hjulmand said. "They did great, it was a great atmosphere. I cannot say it influenced our performance, but it definitely gave them wings.

"They made an atmosphere that was perfect for them. But we were prepared, and I cannot say that was the reason for the performance. My players have played in much tougher.

"We never said Tunisia would be a game that was easy to win for us, but we definitely had an aim of winning this one because we knew a result in this game would have helped us.

"Now it could be complicated. It's one point each, now we have two great games. We're looking forward to France, we can't wait to get started – one game at a time, next is France."

The Group D stalemate was a result that should give Tunisia encouragement. They have never gone beyond the group stage in a World Cup, so to get immediately off the mark is a great start. They face Australia next, on Saturday, before tackling France four days later.

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri said the volume from the stands against the Danes had been inspiring.

"We know the crowd is very important for us. It's always very important mentally, it gives us a great lift, and I'm looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that," Kadri said.

"It really helped us in terms of our game. Tactically we played very well, and we deserved the draw and we played very well.

"We played against a powerhouse of the tournament. We saw that our team performed very well. I should commend my players. Maybe we just lacked a bit of efficacy on the ground. We should have capitalised on the chances to have a better result."

Tunisia experienced a late handball scare, with Yassine Meriah fearing he had given away a penalty, but referee Cesar Arturo Ramos elected not to give a spot-kick after viewing the incident on a pitch-side monitor.

"I cannot describe my feeling," Kadri said of that moment. "The VAR has every right to intervene. Today it was in our favour – this is what football is about. We talk about decisions – FIFA decisions, VAR decisions – these have to be respected."

Andreas Cornelius missed a golden chance as Tunisia claimed a hard-fought point in a battling 0-0 draw with Denmark at the World Cup.

Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark have been labelled by some as dark horses for glory in Qatar, but they were given a stern test by Tunisia.

With the backing of huge, vociferous support at Education City Stadium on Tuesday, Tunisia could easily have taken more from the Group D opener, with Kasper Schmeichel making a brilliant save to deny Issam Jebali in the first half.

Cornelius' miss from point-blank range summed up a frustrating day for Denmark, while Tunisia survived a late check for handball in the area against Yassine Meriah.

A positive Denmark start only further jeered up a fervent Tunisia crowd, which cheered Aissa Laidouni's full-blooded tackle on Christian Eriksen like a goal.

There seemed a real goal to revel in when Jebali got in behind and finished brilliantly, but the offside flag cut short Tunisia's celebrations.

Jebali stayed onside for the best opportunity of the half, with Schmeichel rushing out to make a wonderful save from the forward's chip.

After Andreas Skov Olsen had a goal disallowed for offside, Aymen Dahmen's superb save denied Christian Eriksen a spectacular strike, though Denmark should have been ahead from the resulting corner.

Substitute Cornelius somehow headed onto the post from less than a yard out, with Tunisia racing up the other end and claiming for a handball in the box by Joachim Andersen.

With those appeals falling on deaf ears, Tunisia seemed set to suffer a cruel blow when the ball hit Meriah's arm in stoppage time, but referee Cesar Arturo Ramos decided against awarding a penalty after consulting the pitch-side monitor.

Denmark were the surprise package at Euro 2020 and by the end of the group stage, were also everyone's second team.

This was partly due to their impressive performances, recovering from losing their first two group matches to thrash both Russia and Wales, before beating the Czech Republic to reach the semi-finals.

Denmark ultimately lost to England in the final four, but there was another reason why non-Danes had developed a soft spot for the team.

The harrowing scenes in their opening defeat to Finland in Copenhagen as medics attempted to revive Christian Eriksen on the pitch after he collapsed left those watching hoping for the best outcome for the player and his team-mates, who created a barrier around him.

Thankfully, not only did Eriksen survive, but he has since returned to the top level of the game, coming off the bench against the Netherlands in March to a standing ovation before finding the back of the net just two minutes later.

The Manchester United midfielder's presence will be symbolic and inspirational in Qatar, but head coach Kasper Hjulmand is under no illusion that his team will need to rely on more than positivity, saying: "I think we're in a good position, but you cannot just go on emotions and play. We will need to have quality on the pitch.

"I think that the football quality is there and we're ready."

Denmark were no one-tournament wonders either, sailing through their World Cup qualifying group, winning their first nine games and keeping clean sheets in their first eight, more than any other team.

One player Tunisia will need to keep an eye on is full-back Joakim Maehle. No player scored more goals for Denmark in qualifying than Maehle (five, level with Andreas Skov Olsen), while no player was directly involved in more goals for the nation during Euro 2020 than the Atalanta man (three, two goals and one assist).

They will have a tough job against Tunisia though, with the Eagles of Carthage experts at keeping games tight and stopping the opposition from playing.

Jalel Kadri was appointed as head coach after their disappointing quarter-final exit to Burkina Faso at the Africa Cup of Nations, and started by beating Mali over two legs to qualify for Qatar 2022 and winning four of their next five games, before a 5-1 friendly humbling at the hands of Brazil in September.

He has set high standards for himself, recently saying: "If we do not reach the knockout phase of the 2022 World Cup, I will leave. I have a contract based on results and being eliminated from the group stage will be a failure for me."

While Tunisia will not be easy to break down, their record at World Cups will need to improve if they are to make any mark on the tournament.

Tunisia have lost 60 per cent of their World Cup games (nine out of 15), the third-highest percentage by a team to have played at least 15 games in the competition, behind only Saudi Arabia (69 per cent - 11 of 16) and Australia (63 per cent - 10 of 16).

Their record against European opposition also leaves a lot to be desired, having played the most games against European opponents at the World Cup of any side without winning (D3 L7). In fact, each of their last four defeats in the competition came against teams from Europe (Spain and Ukraine in 2006, England and Belgium in 2018).

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Denmark – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg 

The Tottenham man has developed into one of Europe's premier deep-lying midfielders, and will provide the drive in the middle next to Eriksen's more refined skill.

In the Premier League this season, only Manchester City's Rodri has attempted more than his 925 passes, while in Europe's big five leagues, only Pedri (seven), Lionel Messi, Mario Gotze (both six), Joshua Kimmich and Harvey Barnes (both five) have recorded more than Hojbjerg's four secondary assists (the pass before the assist).

Tunisia – Wahbi Khazri

The former Sunderland and Saint-Etienne forward has been the main man for his country on the big stage, and will be needed to show off his talents again in Qatar.

Khazri has been directly involved in each of Tunisia's last four goals at the World Cup (two goals, two assists), and also had three goal involvements at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year (two goals, one assist).


PREDICTION

Possibly due to the form of the Danes and Tunisia's poor record at World Cups, Hjulmand's men will be clear favourites at Education City Stadium.

According to Stats Perform's AI model, Denmark have a 65.0 per cent chance of victory, with Tunisia at just 13.9 per cent to win.

The draw, rated at 21.1 per cent, seems possible given Denmark's lack of a proven goalscorer and their opponents' ability to close games down.

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