Poland vs Saudi Arabia LIVE: World Cup 2022 result as Lewandowski nets first World Cup goal to seal win

Poland take on Saudi Arabia in Group C of World Cup 2022 this afternoon and will be hoping to improve on their goalless draw against Mexico which saw Robert Lewandowski mess up an opportunity to earn the European side three points when he missed a penalty in the second half. Group C is delicately poised and Poland will realise that a win today puts them within touching distance of the knockouts ahead of a difficult final group game versus Argentina.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile produced the shock result of the tournament so far when they came from behind to defeat Argentina 2-1 in their opening game. Such was the surprise of the result that a public holiday was called in their country to celebrate. That win means that the Saudis will reach the last 16 if they also defeat Poland today.

Reaching the knockout stage would be a historic landmark for Saudi Arabia. They did so on their World Cup debut in 1994 but haven’t made it out of the groups in their previous four campaigns.

Yet, injuries could be a factor in deciding which way the game goes. Poland’s Krystian Bielik and Bartosz Bereszynski both picked up knocks against Mexico and are doubts for the game whilst Saudi Arabia will be without defender Yasser Al Shahrani who is expected to miss the rest of the tournament.

Follow all the action from Qatar with our live blog below:

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

  • Poland face Saudi Arabia in Group C of World Cup 2022

  • 82’ - GOAL! Lewandowski finally scores his first World Cup goal to put result beyond doubt (POL 2-0 KSA)

  • 66’ - POST! Poland hit the woodwork again as Lewandowski’s effort strikes the post (POL 1-0 KSA)

  • 63’ - CROSSBAR! Milik’s header thunders back off the bar (POL 1-0 KSA)

  • 60’ - CHANCE! Al-Brikan lashes good chance over the bar (POL 1-0 KSA)

  • 54’ - SCRAMBLE! Poland survive some goalmouth pinball to hang on to their lead (POL 1-0 KSA)

  • 45+1’ - PENALTY SAVED! Szczesny gets down well to deny Al-Dawsari from the spot (POL 1-0 KSA)

  • 39’ - GOAL! Zielinksi hammers home opener against the run of play (POL 1-0 KSA)

Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia

14:56 , Michael Jones

88 mins: Robert Lewandowski seems to have rediscovered his confidence. He’s given the ball on his way into the penalty area.

The forward dribbles his way through the Saudi Arabian defence before looking to lift the ball over the goalkeeper who manages to get a hand to the ball and knock it out of his path.

Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia

14:51 , Michael Jones

85 mins: Saudi Arabia will be gutted to come away from this match with no points. They’ve played better than Poland for the majority of the game but the difference has been Poland’s quality in front of goal.

It’s going to be a big win for the Eastern Europeans. They’re heading for the top of Group C ahead of Mexico’s match verus Argentina at 7pm.

GOAL! Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia (Lewandowski, 82’)⚽️

14:47 , Michael Jones

82 mins: Mistake from Saudi Arabia and Robert Lewandowski pounces!

Saudi Arabia look to build out from the back and slide the ball into Abdulelah Al Malki who is more focused on where to play the ball than bringing it properly under control.

His miscontrols the ball and Lewandowski is on hand to nick it away from him. The big striker takes a couple of glances at the goalkeeper then smartly guides the ball under his outstretched arm to secure the points for Poland.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:45 , Michael Jones

78 mins: Close! Abdulhamid brings the ball down the left wing for Saudi Arabia before weaving into the box and shifting the ball in between two defenders.

He loses possession but the ball bobbled out to Al Malki who drills a side-footed effort over to the far bottom corner but sends it inches wide of the target!

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:42 , Michael Jones

75 mins: The signs are there that Saudi Arabia are starting to tire. They aren’t moving the ball as fluidly and haven’t been closing it down as quickly as previously.

Poland are managing the game well. They’ll be starting to think about protecting their lead instead of increasing it.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:37 , Michael Jones

72 mins: Milik’s decent day out is over for Poland as he’s replaced with Krzysztof Piatek for the final 20 minutes or so. It’s a like-for-like swap meaning that Poland will have some fresh legs up front as they search for a decisive second goal.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:35 , Michael Jones

69 mins: Al Dawsari has been Saudi Arabia’s biggest threat in the second half. He’s given the ball and runs along the front of the box before hitting a curling effort straight into the arms of Szczesny who makes no mistakes in smothering it.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:33 , Michael Jones

66 mins: Off the post!

Poland have come alive again. Saudi Arabia are lucky to still be in this game. The Eastern Europeans sweep down the right side with Kaminski delivering a low pass into the box.

It’s bobbling around but Lewandowski gets there first and turns it towards goal. Al Owais sticks out a hand and tips the effort onto the nearest post before Saudi Arabia scramble it away!

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:30 , Michael Jones

63 mins: Off the woodwork!

Poland almost put the game beyond Saudi Arabia after they win a long ball and slide it out to the left wing. Lewandowski and Milik sprint into the penalty area and the incoming cross drops over Al Amri to pick out Milik.

He connects with a glorious header and looks to have doubled Poland’s lead but the ball rattles into the crossbar and bounces away!

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:27 , Michael Jones

60 mins: Chances! Saudi Arabia won’t get closer without scoring. Fera Al Brikan makes a run into the left side of the box and receives a pass. He’s got a narrow angle to shoot from but smokes his powerful shot over the bar.

A second attack quickly follows with Kanno getting into space outside of the area but he too sends a shot over the top.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:25 , Michael Jones

57 mins: Saudi Arabia are firmly in control of the game now. It’s seriously impressive stuff from a team who were expected to roll over against their more experienced opponents in the group.

They’ll score today. Unless Poland add a second soon, Saudi Arabia’s momentum will get them a goal.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:23 , Michael Jones

54 mins: Oh my! Saudi Arabia are really knocking on the door. Al Dawsari sweeps into the box from the left hand side and sets up a teammate for a shot.

It’s Al Abid who gets closed out and Poland’s clearance hits Bielik before rolling back towards Al Dawsari. He shoots but is denied but a low save from Szczesny before Poland eventually scoop the ball away.

Outside the area another Saudi player runs onto the ball but lifts an effort from range well over the crossbar!

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:17 , Michael Jones

51 mins: What a pass this is from Al Amri. He fizzes a diagonal ball over to the left wing where the ball is brought and slipped into the penalty area.

Kamil Glik is aware of the potential danger and turns the ball behind before Poland confidently defend the resultant corner.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:13 , Michael Jones

48 mins: Saudi Arabia will a corner early in the second half and Al Abid swings the set piece over to the far side of the box.

He picks out Al Amri on the opposite side of the penalty area but the defender can’t work his header back into the danger zone and Poland work the ball clear.

Second half: Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:11 , Michael Jones

Kick off: Saudi Arabia famously came from behind to defeat Argentina 2-1 in their opening game and will need to do so again if they’re to reach the knockout rounds today.

Nawaf Al Abid comes on for Saudi Arabia replacing Sami Al Najei as the match restarts.

Qatar’s World Cup streaming service blocked in Saudi Arabia

14:04 , Michael Jones

A Qatar-based broadcaster is in talks with Fifa after its World Cup streaming service was blocked in Saudi Arabia by that country’s government.

The broadcaster, Bein Sports, holds the rights to World Cup matches in Saudi Arabia and will screen 22 of them free-to-air there.

However, the remaining 42 can only be watched via its streaming service, which has been blocked in Saudi Arabia since an hour before the opening ceremony last Sunday.

Bein is in urgent talks with Fifa to resolve the issue. The timing is strange to say the least, with World Cup enthusiasm at fever pitch in Saudi Arabia after the country’s shock win over Argentina earlier this week.

It also comes amid the context of Saudi Arabia seeking to court favour at Fifa amid its interest in co-hosting the 2030 men’s World Cup, and with the Arab world arguably in the spotlight as never before with Qatar hosting these finals.

Qatar’s World Cup streaming service blocked in Saudi Arabia

HT Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

14:00 , Michael Jones

Poland have a slender lead at the break against Saudi Arabia. Can they hold on to move top of Group C?

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Half-time: Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

13:56 , Michael Jones

45+10 mins: There goes the whistle for half-time. A lot happened in the first half with yellow cards galore, a great goal against the run of play from Poland, VAR and a missed penalty from Saudi Arabia.

This has been an exciting contest and one that is far from over. Even though they’re behind Saudi Arabia will be happy with their performance so far.

Poland have the goal they wanted, now they need to maintain their lead.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

13:51 , Michael Jones

45+6 mins: Saudi Arabia really are playing some delightful football - especially on the right hand side. Kanno brings the ball down the channel before slipping it out to Abdulhamid on the wing.

He brings the ball into the area before attempting a cutback that Poland intercept and scramble clear.

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

13:49 , Michael Jones

45+3 mins: There’s 10 minutes of added time to play before the end of the first half. Saudi Arabia have squandered the chance to level and now need to get into the break and reset.

It was brilliant goalkeeping from Szczesny to keep his team in front.

SAVED! Szczesny to the rescue!

13:47 , Michael Jones

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

45+1 mins: Salem Al Dawsari is the new penalty taker for Saudi Arabia and he drills his spot kick low to the goalkeeper’s right. Wojciech Szczesny leaps across and keeps it out with a strong hand.

The rebounds out to Mohammed Al Burayk who sends it back towards goal but Szczesny is back on his feet quickly to lift it over the bar!

Penalty to Saudi Arabia!

13:45 , Michael Jones

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

44 mins: It’s a penalty! VAR calls the referee over to to pitchside monitor. There’s no contact on the ball from Bielik and Al Shehri has won his side the chance to equalise!

Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia

13:44 , Michael Jones

42 mins: Saudi Arabia have been good value for money today but they face an uphill battle to get back into the game. They were one down against Argentina too and managed to win that one so never say never.

Saleh Al Shehri is given the ball inside the Poland penalty area. He weaves right, then left, when up against Krystian Bielik before a stray leg clips him and he goes down.

Saudi Arabia want a penalty and VAR is checking it...

GOAL! Poland 1-0 Saudi Arabia (Zielinski, 39’)⚽️

13:40 , Michael Jones

39 mins: There’s the opener! Poland pounce on Saudi Arabia’s high line and take a crucial lead in this game!

Frankowski brings the ball down on the right side and slips Cash down the wing. He rolls the ball into the middle of the box where Lewandowski fumbles what should be a simple chance.

Instead the forward is forced wide but he turns and picks out the arriving Zielinski in the centre and the midfielder smokes the ball into the back of the net!

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:39 , Michael Jones

36 mins: Ouch. Robert Lewandowski tries to show his strength by taking the ball around Ali Al Bulayhi on his way into the box. The Saudi Arabian defender falls over and Lewandowski’s stride lands him on Al Bulayhi’s right arm.

The Poland forward loses possession and the medical team are called on to see to Al Bulayhi.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:35 , Michael Jones

33 mins: Saudi Arabia target the Poland left side with their most recent attack. They work it wide of Bartosz Beresynski and whip a cross into the middle but it’s too far away from Saleh Al Shehri for the forward to trouble the goalkeeper.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:31 , Michael Jones

30 mins: Nearly! Robert Lewandowski drops deep to recover the ball then makes a cutting run back to the edge of the box as a diagonal pass is played over to him.

He miscontrols it and he attempts to bring the ball down but Arkadiusz Milik keeps the attack alive. He shifts it over to Matty Cash on the right but the defender is closed down quickly and Saudi Arabia take over possession.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:27 , Michael Jones

27 mins: Chance! Poland win a corner that is darted into the penalty area. Krystian Bielik wins the header and powers the ball towards goal. The goalkeeper seems to have it covered but Al Shehri takes no chances and lifts it over the crossbar with a header of his own.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:25 , Michael Jones

24 mins: Great defending from Al Burayk after Poland manage to flick the ball in behind and almost set up Zielinski for a chance inside the box. Al Burayk squeezes ahead of the winger and manages to intercept the pass.

It’s a warning sign for Saudi Arabia as Poland are growing nicely into the game.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:22 , Michael Jones

21 mins: Oh that’ll be painful. Matty Cash climbs over the top of Mohammed Al Burayk and leads with his elbow which lands on the Saudi Arabian’s chin.

Cash avoids a booking for the incident but he needs to be careful. He’s already on a yellow card.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:20 , Michael Jones

18 mins: There’s a physicality and a doggedness to this Saudi Arabian team. They’re being spurred on by the raucaus noise from their home fans who have made the trip over the border to watch them in Qatar.

Al Amri works the ball through the middle of the pitch and he’s taken out by Milik who becomes the third Polish man to go in the book.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:16 , Michael Jones

15 mins: Jakub Kiwior collects the first yellow card of the match for a tackle on Saleh Al Shehri. Cash then joins him in the book for a lunging effort on Salem Al Dawsari.

The Saudi Arabian forwards are causing a few issues here.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:14 , Michael Jones

13 mins: Save! Oh what a strike!

Saudi Arabia sweep down the right wing and carry the ball to the right side of the box before pulling it back to Mohamed Kanno. He laces a powerful strike from the edge of the box and forces Wojciech Szczesny to palm the effort over the crossbar!

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:13 , Michael Jones

12 mins: Matty Cash and Abdulelah Al Malki collide after both try to win the same ball in midfield with the Poland defender punished for a lunging effort that takes out the Saudi Arabia midfielder.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:11 , Michael Jones

9 mins: Saudi Arabia have started well and are pressing Poland trying to trouble the defenders when they have possession. Grzegorz Krychowiak brings an aerial pass under control and works it down the left wing.

He laces the ball into the box where Abdelelch Al Amri deflects it into the path of his own goalkeeper. This is better pressure from Poland.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:07 , Michael Jones

6 mins: A long ball comes up to Arkadiusz Milik who brings the ball under control before slipping it down the line for Piotr Zielinski’s forward run.

He swings a deep cross over the head of Robert Lewandowski and picks out Matty Cash on the far side of the penalty area. Cahs puts the ball back into the middle and gives it straight to Mohammed Al Owais.

Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:05 , Michael Jones

3 mins: Saudi Arabia’s first foray into the Poland final third sees Sami Alnajei cut inside and go to ground under pressure. He’s looking for a free kick but the referee signals for play to go on.

Kick off: Poland 0-0 Saudi Arabia

13:01 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia could become the first team to reach the last 16 if they defeat Poland today. The European side kick off the match and send the ball over to the right wing.

Matty Cash brings the ball under control but can’t find a way around Mohammed Alburayk who wins the ball for Saudi Arabia.

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

12:54 , Michael Jones

The players head out onto the pitch and the national anthems are played. A reminder that if Saudi Arabia win this afternoon they will be through to the last 16.

Poland need three points to keep their chances of a spot in the next stage alive.

Bednarek backs Lewandowski

12:53 , Michael Jones

Robert Lewandski came under fire following Poland’s 0-0 draw against Mexico in their opening game especially after missing a penalty that would have seen them win the game.

He still has the backing of his team though with defender Jan Bednarek saying: “Robert is our captain, our striker.

“He wants to score for him but also the good of the team, that is most important. He wants us to win. I think he hides his pride in his pocket. I am convinced he places the team’s success at the top.”

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

12:49 , Michael Jones

Poland’s Robert Lewandowski has not scored in four World Cup appearances, attempting 11 shots in this time while also missing a penalty against Mexico last time out.

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

12:45 , Michael Jones

Poland attempted six shots against Mexico, their lowest tally in a World Cup match since Opta have this data from 1966, with their previous low being eight shots against Germany in 2006.

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

12:41 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia have won their last two World Cup games, beating Egypt in their final game of the 2018 tournament, and Argentina this year.

They had only won two of their first 15 games in the competition (D2 L11).

Saudi Arabia declares public holiday after shock World Cup win over Argentina

12:37 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia declared a public holiday on Wednesday immediately following their nation’s shock win over Argentina at the Qatar World Cup.

Captained by Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Argentina were expected to make short work of the unfancied Saudis before a deep run in the competition, and came to Qatar as second favourites to lift the trophy behind South American rivals Brazil.

But many thousands of Saudi Arabian fans packed the Lusail Stadium in Doha to cheer their team to a remarkable comeback victory, as a quickfire double of second-half goals by Saleh Alshehri and Salem Aldawsari eclipsed Messi’s early penalty.

Saudi Arabia declares public holiday after shock World Cup win over Argentina

Shock win over Argentina culturally ‘significant moment for all Saudis’

12:32 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabian fans based in the UK have described their team’s unexpected win over Argentina as a culturally “significant moment” – and a boost for the nation’s hopes of hosting the 2030 World Cup.

Supporters from the Middle Eastern nation expressed a strong sense of pride after watching their team, ranked 51st in the world by Fifa, secure a 2-1 triumph over Lionel Messi’s side, the global number three.

London-based analyst Dr Najah Al-Otaibi said the win would show the world “the country is developing very fast”, while Dr Mashael Hobani, a recent York University graduate, described it as “a significant moment for all Saudis”.

Shock win over Argentina culturally ‘significant moment for all Saudis’

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

12:27 , Michael Jones

Saudi Arabia have lost nine of their 10 World Cup games against European nations, with the exception being a 1-0 win over Belgium in 1994.

Meanwhile, Poland have kept a clean sheet in their last two World Cup games; only from 1974 to 1978 have they recorded three straight shutouts at the finals.

FT Tunisia 0-1 Australia

12:23 , Michael Jones

Reaction from Australia goalscorer Mitchell Duke who spoke to BBC One following the win saying: “No words, I’m going to start crying because it’s such a big moment.

“For me and my family, my supporters, it’s the best feeling in the world but I’m trying not to get too caught up in it because the job’s not done yet. We’ve got one more game to try and get out of the group.

“Honestly, [the goal is] the best moment of my life to date in my football career. I’m just so happy and proud of the boys. People have sacrificed so much to be here - it’s just the best feeling in the world.

“I’ll go to war with these boys. A huge shift from these lads, a clean sheet, we fought until the end and that’s all you can ask. We showed that Aussie spirit and we got the result.

“We’re confident [about playing Denmark nex]. We’re trying not to get too caught up in the moment. We’ve got one more game to go and we’ll try to make some more history for Australia.”

Australia beat Tunisia to claim first World Cup win in 12 years and keep last-16 hopes alive

12:19 , Michael Jones

With the reigning world champions up against every expert’s pick for dark horses in Group C’s other outing, this was always going to be billed as the battle of its also-rans, in its rightful place as first up and firmly on Saturday’s undercard. But if either Tunisia or Australia could beat the other, they would have a good chunk of the points required to have a shot at a surprise last-16 spot, and would only need a result against their European rivals to sneak in.

Tunisia started the day in the stronger position but, courtesy of Mitch Duke’s deft first-half header, Australia ended it in the ascendancy. Their World Cup 2022 campaign was always likely to come down to this specific game and by just about edging it, Graham Arnold’s side know that a win against Denmark will see a limited but organised group of players emulate 2006’s ‘Golden Generation’ by reaching the knock-out stages.

That may still be a tall task but it is no taller than Tunisia’s. The Eagles of Carthage impressed in holding Denmark to a point earlier this week but now have to beat France - and perhaps beat them handsomely - in order to have any hope of extending their stay in Qatar.

Australia beat Tunisia to claim first World Cup win in 12 years

FT Tunisia 0-1 Australia

12:15 , Michael Jones

Australia recorded their first win at the World Cup since they defeated Serbia in 2010. They are now just one win away from a place in the last 16.

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FT Tunisia 0-1 Australia

12:11 , Michael Jones

That victory is massive for Australia. They now have destiny in their own hands and know that if they defeat Denmark in the last group game they will secure a place in the knockout rounds.

Poland vs Saudi Arabia

12:05 , Michael Jones

Reaction from Australia’s victory over Tunisia still to come but we’re looking ahead to the next game of the day now as Poland take on Saudi Arabia.

Here’s a look at the two line-ups:

Poland XI: Szczesny, Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski, Zielinski, Milik, Lewandowski

Saudi Arabia XI: Al Owais, Abdulhamid, Al Amri, Al Bulayhi, Al Burayk, Al Wahbi Al Malki, Al Brikan, Al Naji, Kanno, Al Dawsari, Al Shehri

Full-time: Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:58 , Michael Jones

90+6 mins: There’s the full-time whistle. Australia take all three points, what a win this is for the Socceroos. They respond brilliantly from their 4-1 defeat to France and keep themselves in contention for a spot in the knockout rounds.

Tunisia have it all to do. They play the world champions in the final group game and need to win to have any chance of progressing.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:56 , Michael Jones

90+3 mins: Tunisia have persisted with crosses from wide as their main method of attack but they’ve not been successful. Mat Ryan comes out and claims the most recent attempt before Harry Souttar belts the ball as far down the pitch as he can.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:52 , Michael Jones

90 mins: Six minutes of added time! There’s still time enough for some late drama in this game. Will Australia hold out or can Tunisia score an equaliser?

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:49 , Michael Jones

87 mins: Montassar Talbi has a dart from outside the box but sends his effort straight into the hands of Mat Ryan.

Naim Sliti then dribbles into the area but doesn’t find a way around Harry Souttar who makes two good blocks in succession to keep Australia ahead.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:45 , Michael Jones

84 mins: There’s an optimistic penalty shout for handball as Australia deal with a Tunisian corner. VAR takes a look but says that play should go on.

The Aussies send a throw in down the right wing where it gets chested over to Hrustic who wins the Socceroos a free kick in the middle of the park.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:43 , Michael Jones

81 mins: More stoppages as more changes are made. Taha Yassine Khenissi and Wajdi Kechrida are on for Tunisia with Australia sending on Milos Degenek to shut up shop.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:41 , Michael Jones

78 mins: Mathew Leckie takes a knock and needs a bit of treatment before coming back onto the pitch. Tunisia aren’t happy with how long it’s taken to assess that there’s not much wrong with him.

They don’t need to worry as that time will be added back on at the end of the 90.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:39 , Michael Jones

75 mins: There are a lot of nervous faces in the crowd from both sets of fans. This is a huge match for for both teams and the result could determine who remains in the World Cup following the final round of fixtures next week.

15 minutes or so to play.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:35 , Michael Jones

72 mins: Close! That should have been the game!

Aziz Behich wins the ball off Wahbi Khazri and slides it down the line to Craig Goodwin. He flicks it over the top and finds Jamie Maclaren who takes the ball alongside the left edge of the penalty area before fizzing a low pass into the six-yard box.

It’s a great ball and one that should result in a goal as Mathew Leckie lunges towards it. All he needs is a touch to beat the goalkeeper but the ball bounces past him and Tunisia are spared more blushes.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:32 , Michael Jones

69 mins: Ajdin Hrustic is given the ball out on the right and he flicks it over a defender before looking to sprint in behind. He slips as he rolls off the shoulder meaning the move breaks down but it’s a sign of the imagination he brings to the Australian team.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:30 , Michael Jones

66 mins: Australia make a double change to try and wrestle some more possession. Mitchell Duke and Riley McGree go off with Ajdin Hrustic and Jamie Maclaren brought on.

For Tunisia Wahbi Khazri is introduced as another threat up top.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:28 , Michael Jones

63 mins: Australia’s main threat is now coming from counter-attacks and Ali Al-Abdi recognises that. Jackson Irvine looks to burst through the middle but the Tunisian midfielder takes him out early and earns himself a yellow card for the trouble.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:22 , Michael Jones

60 mins: Nice comeback from Australia who find some room to break on the counter attack with Craig Goodwin flying down the left. He fizzes a low effort into the six-yard box but there’s no-one around to turn the ball towards goal.

Good contest this one.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:18 , Michael Jones

57 mins: Tunisia play the free kick quickly but Laidouni is still rolling around on the floor so the referee pulls back play just as Ellyes Skhiri takes the ball into the penalty area.

Tunisia aren’t happy about that but it’s their own fault for the play acting. These are all good signs for the African nation however. They’ve come out from the break with purpose and are taking the game to Australia.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:16 , Michael Jones

54 mins: There’s an appeal for handball against Australia. Jebali weaves into the penalty area but loses possession to Aaron Mooy who boots the ball away.

It strikes one of his teammates on what Tunisia say was the arm - it wasn’t - and comes out to Aissa Laidouni who buys a free kick with an extravagant fall following a routine tackle.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:12 , Michael Jones

51 mins: Riley McGree brings the ball up to the edge of the box for Australia before running into trouble and sliding the ball back to Jackson Irvine.

He whips the ball out to Craig Goodwin on the left wing who delivers a good cross into the box only for Tunisia to deal with it without too much trouble.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:09 , Michael Jones

48 mins: Tunisia have also changed the formation, electing to go with a back four and send another man into midfield. That control works out for them as they win an early corner but Aussie defender Harry Souttar rises highest to head the ball clear.

Bright start to the second half from Tunisia though.

Second half: Tunisia 0-1 Australia

11:07 , Michael Jones

Kick off: Australia face a tricky 45 minutes as they look to try and hold on to their lead. Ferjani Sassi has replaced Mohamed Drager for Tunisia during the break in the only change in the teams.

The African side get the match back underway.

Americans are falling in love with football and we should all be worried

11:00 , Michael Jones

Watching Americans fall in love with football is like watching the fires of Mount Doom light up the dark sky over Mordor. Here in this New York bar, described by several online listicles as “the best soccer venue in the city”, I am Gandalf gazing at a pulsating orange glow in the distance with foreboding – a silent witness to the rise of a power that, once unleashed, will be almost impossible to stop.

It’s no secret that the United States is a country that takes sports very seriously, but it’s hard to describe to people who don’t live here just how deeply engrained it is in the culture. From a very early age, through high school and college, Americans are raised on a diet of several at once. Their sporting prowess isn’t immediately obvious to us from the outside because they are mostly content to play games that no one else does. But football, the most popular sport in the world, has been winning American hearts and minds at a rapid pace over the last decade.

As I watched England take on the US in the group stage of the World Cup, surrounded by American football fans, I was given pause to wonder: What happens when this nation of sporting fanatics finally starts taking this sport seriously?

Americans are falling in love with football and we should all be worried

HT Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:55 , Michael Jones

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Half-time: Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:51 , Michael Jones

45+5 mins: The whistle goes to signal half-time and Australia head into the break with a crucial yet slender lead. Mitchell Duke’s header sent them in front after some solid work from Craig Goodwin on the wing.

Tunisia fought back towards the end of the half and looked dangerous in Australia’s final third. This game is far from done and Australia will have to work hard to maintain their lead in the second half.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:49 , Michael Jones

45+2 mins: Tunisia are pushing up the pitch and are having a good spell of possession before the end of the half. They work the ball down the right and flick it over to Jebali who spins into the box and pulls the ball back to the Msakni.

The striker hits his right-footed chance with his first touch and slides it narrowly wide of the near post!

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:47 , Michael Jones

45 mins: Five minutes of added time to go before the end of the first half.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:45 , Michael Jones

44 mins: Almost! Australia win another free kick with this one coming just inside Tunisia’s half of the pitch. Craig Goodwin floats another decent ball into the middle and Mitchell Duke gets his head to it again.

His connection isn’t great this time and he nods it straight to Aymen Dahmen in goal.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:43 , Michael Jones

41 mins: Chance! It should be 1-1!

Tunisia throw the ball down the left side and get it up to Issam Jebali. His strength allows him to take the ball into the penalty area before a cutback comes to Youssef Msakni.

Msakni is closed down quickly but not before he lays the ball off to Mohamed Drager. Drager runs onto a first time shot but Harry Soutter leaps in front of the ball and makes a brilliant block to deny Tunisia an equaliser.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:40 , Michael Jones

38 mins: Drager challenges Goodwin for an aerial ball and is clipped in the face by the Australian’s trailing leg. Tunisia come away with the ball though and Youssef Msakni drives up the pitch.

He carries it into the area and has a shot but Aziz Behich is well positioned to block the effort.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:36 , Michael Jones

35 mins: Goodwin miscues his delivery as he sends the corner into the box. The ball dips behind the first defender and Jackson Irvine meets it with a backheel that finishes wide of the near post.

Decent improvisation from the Australian midfielder but it comes to nought.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:35 , Michael Jones

32 mins: Talbi gets over to the left and blocks a cross behind for an Australia corner. Despite going behind Tunisia haven’t really responded in the attacking third.

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:31 , Michael Jones

29 mins: Fun fact, Mitchell Duke’s headed finish was the 50th goal of this World Cup and we’ve not even reached the halfway point of the group stages.

 (PA)
(PA)

Tunisia 0-1 Australia

10:29 , Michael Jones

26 mins: Tunisis obviously came into the match with a similar gameplan to the one they used against Denmark but Australia’s pressure has broken them down.

These two teams are of similar quality so that opening goal could prove vital as the match goes on.

Mitchell Duke lunges into a tackle as he tracks back to help out the defence and is whacked on the shin by an innocent folow through.

GOAL! Tunisia 0-1 Australia (Duke, 23’)⚽️

10:24 , Michael Jones

23 mins: Huge moment! Australia take the lead!

Australia have had success sending the ball long with the front men winning the ball in the air. The do so here and knock it down to near the halfway line.

The ball comes out to Craig Goodwin on the left as Mitchell Duke starts a flying run from deep to get into the box in time to meet the cross.

He jumps towards the ball unopposed and guides a beautiful header over to the far corner!

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:23 , Michael Jones

21 mins: Shot! Tunisia come down the left wing and force Australia onto the back foot. They send it square quickly and two passes gets the ball over to Mohamed Drager who’s got time to set himself before letting fly from around 30-yards.

It’s Tunisia’s first real go at goal and Drager belts the effort well over the crossbar!

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:19 , Michael Jones

18 mins: Oh that’ll be a sore one! Mitchell Duke leaps towards a long ball and glances it on before landing awkwardly on his back as he clambers over the nearest defender.

The forward stays down to catch his breath and shuffles away awkwardly to run off the pain.

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:16 , Michael Jones

15 mins: Tunisia have picked up where they left off against Denmark.

They’re happy for Australia to have the ball and are backing their defenders to deal with any aerial passes into the box. It’s a gameplan that worked against the Danes and it’s working here as well.

The next step for the African side is to transition quickly into attack and put some pressure on Australia too.

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:13 , Michael Jones

12 mins: A well worked free kick from Aaron Mooy is floated over to the left wing where a backheel sends Craig Goodwin towards the byline.

He’s got time and space to put in a cross but only picks out Montassar Talbi who nods the ball clear.

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:10 , Michael Jones

9 mins: Tunisia had an early moment where they got the ball into the Aussies box but since then the team from down under have impressed.

They’re pressing well and utilising the wide areas for crosses.

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:07 , Michael Jones

6 mins: Lovely play in the middle of the pitch from Australia. They work the ball up to Mathew Leckie who shimmies out of a tackle before sliding a pass out to Goodwin on the left side.

Goodwin swings an early cross into the middle but Ali Al-Abdi rises to nod the ball away. It comes as far as Aaron Mooy who holds it up and wins a free kick.

Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:04 , Michael Jones

3 mins: Craig Goodwin makes a run down the left wing as Australia feed the ball down the line. The forward puts on a spurt but can’t catch up to the pass before the ball rolls out of play.

Kick off: Tunisia 0-0 Australia

10:02 , Michael Jones

Australia get the match started knowing that a loss today would knock them out of the World Cup. They send the ball long and it’s defended easily enough by Tunisia.

Tunisia vs Australia

09:55 , Michael Jones

Here come the teams!

This will be a close encounter with the winning team taking a huge step closer to the knockout games.

Qatar’s World Cup streaming service blocked in Saudi Arabia

09:52 , Michael Jones

A Qatar-based broadcaster is in talks with Fifa after its World Cup streaming service was blocked in Saudi Arabia by that country’s government.

The broadcaster, Bein Sports, holds the rights to World Cup matches in Saudi Arabia and will screen 22 of them free-to-air there.

However, the remaining 42 can only be watched via its streaming service, which has been blocked in Saudi Arabia since an hour before the opening ceremony last Sunday.

Bein is in urgent talks with Fifa to resolve the issue. The timing is strange to say the least, with World Cup enthusiasm at fever pitch in Saudi Arabia after the country’s shock win over Argentina earlier this week.

Qatar’s World Cup streaming service blocked in Saudi Arabia

Australia’s fearless teen could make an ‘Owen-esque’ impact in Qatar

09:48 , Michael Jones

Garang Kuol has yet to start a single senior game of football but some in Australia believe the teenage striker could have the same impact for the Socceroos in Qatar as Michael Owen had for England at a similar age in the 1998 World Cup in France.

Owen was already an established first-team player at Liverpool when he lit up his first finals with a stunning goal against Argentina but 18-year-old Kuol is undeniably blessed with similar blinding pace, touch and self-confidence.

Kuol became the youngest Socceroo since Harry Kewell when he won his first cap off the bench in a 2-0 friendly win over New Zealand in September and had an immediate impact with a decisive role in the move that led to Australia’s second goal.

That was an echo of his cameo in the A-League All Stars exhibition match against Barcelona in May when he bamboozled jet-lagged Spanish defenders apparently at will to leave Xavi impressed with his “obvious talent”.

Australia’s fearless teen Garang Kuol could make an ‘Owen-esque’ impact in Qatar

Tunisia vs Australia

09:44 , Michael Jones

The Tunisians are aiming to record two unbeaten matches within a single World Cup campaign for only the second time after 1978 (W1, D1, L1).

Meanwhile, the Aussies have won just two of their 17 World Cup matches (D4, L11).

Tunisia vs Australia

09:37 , Michael Jones

The warm ups are well underway at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar. This one should be a closely fought affair and whoever scores first could give themselves a huge boost in the game.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England booed off after USA draw in latest underwhelming World Cup display

09:32 , Michael Jones

A performance as unconvincing as the decision to light up the Wembley arch in the rainbow colours.

England’s chances of winning this World Cup right now look as far away as this supposed protest against Qatar’s laws and attitude to LGBTQ+. Such present concerns also had historical echoes. England still haven’t beaten USA in a World Cup match. Much more relevantly, they for long periods looked an inferior team in this dismal 0-0 draw. They had fewer chances and much less impetus and energy.

It means that, far from going and lifting this trophy, England must currently be much more concerned with going out. That is the position Gareth Southgate’s side have now put themselves in.

And while it would take an awful lot for a faltering Wales to turn this group around in the final game and eliminate England, we are talking about a team that went from rampantly putting six past Iran to one barely able to muster a shot on target at the Al Bayt Stadium.

England booed off after USA draw in latest underwhelming World Cup display

Latest odds

09:27 , Michael Jones

Tunisia are the favourites with the bookmakers to take the win in this one. Here are the latest odds from Betfair for today’s opening game:

Tunisia 23/20

Draw 23/10

Australia 13/5

Tunisia vs Australia

09:23 , Michael Jones

The Socceroos seem up for this one. Tunisia represent their best chance of picking up a win at this tournament, who will come out on top today?

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Tunisia vs Australia team changes

09:15 , Michael Jones

There is just one change to the Tunisia side who drew with Denmark in their opening game. Forward Naim Sliti comes in to replace Brondby’s Anis Slimane who drops to the bench.

Australia also make a change following their defeat to defending champions France. Fran Karacic replaces injured Hearts defender Nathaniel Atkinson in the starting XI.

Tunisia vs Australia

09:08 , Michael Jones

Less than an hour to go until kick off in this Group D encounter. The fans are flocking to the stadium and the atmosphere is building nicely.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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