Tunisia 1 France 0
Tunisia claim bragging rights but France top group
Never in World Cup history can a team’s exit have been followed by quite such a party.
Australia and France are through. Tunisia are going home but the fans saw the very next best thing: A first victory against world champions France for more than 50 years.
Two pieces of context are important here.
The first is the historical connection between the two nations and how Tunisia was part of the colonial French empire between 1881 and their independence in 1956.
The second is the rollercoaster of emotions that were endured during a match that did ultimately become a ‘dead’ rubber in Group C but was still among the most intensely dramatic of the tournament.
With France manager Didier Deschamps making nine changes from the team that had already sealed qualification, Tunisia took a 58th lead after Wahbi Khazri brilliantly waltzed around a statuesque Rapahel Varane. And, for one glorious minute while the match between Denmark and Australia remained goalless, they were also into the last 16.
News then filtered through that Mathew Leckie had put Australia ahead, leaving Tunisia still playing for both the possibility of a Danish equaliser and their own considerable pride.
Deschamps duly did introduce some of his biggest stars, with Antoine Greizmann appearing to snatch a 98th minute equaliser, only for Var to intervene after the final whistle had apparently already sounded. French TV even went prematurely to an advert break and missed the subsequent offside ruling which sealed Tunisia’s first win against France since the 1971 Mediterranean Games. Deschamps was utterly bemused and could not understand why the goal was checked.
Not that the raucous Tunisian fans cared. With ‘Freed from Desire’ blaring out, a packed stadium still resembled a nightclub some 10 minutes after the final whistle.
“It is a historic win for us,” said Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri, who admitted that he does not know whether the Tunisian Football Federation will now terminate his contract.
Deschamps’s team selection remains a matter of deep controversy for the French but would have been for the entire tournament if Australia and Denmark had played out a draw and Tunisia prevailed.
The issue was not so much the individuals that Deschamps had picked but, in trying to protect his already injury-hit squad, how he used so many players out of position.
France await for England in the quarter-finals if both teams win their next match and the clear evidence here was that Gareth Southagte will have rather more attacking depth from the bench.
Deschamps, who was in the French World Cup-winning squad of 1998 which also fielded a changed team after two wins in the group, said that a “second competition” would now commence.
“I’m relaxed,” said Deschamps, who actually seemed agitated during the post-match press conference, particularly at questions over the surprise non-appearance of Benjamin Pavard.
Deschamps also highlighted how the French national anthem had been booed and whistled by a sizeable contingent of Tunisian fans.
“We had some difficulties through the choices I made,” he added. “[But] some players were at risk of injury and it should help us in four days. I was taking the game seriously but thinking about Sunday.”
Tunisia vs France, as it happened
Meanwhile, at the Al Janoub
It's Australia who join France in the Round of 16: follow the reaction after their final group stage match win over Denmark here.
Now the dust has settled...
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Jeremy Wilson's full time thoughts
Extraordinary scenes at Education City where Antoine Greizmann thought he had equalized and the entire crowd thought that the referee had then blown the full-time whistle. But then a VAR check, which decided that Greizmann was offside in the seconds before his finish. It was futile in the context of Tunisia's chances of qualifying but don't believe for a second that it meant nothing to the team or fans. Huge history between the two nations and the first time that Tunisia have beaten France since 1971 in the Mediterranean Cup.
Late Var drama, in pictures
This has been a troubling experiment for Deschamps, as even after high profile introductions were made, France still made heavy weather of their opponents. This loss marks the first time that France have been beaten in a World Cup match since they were knocked out in 2014 by Germany in their quarter final.
That being said, nine changes is... nine changes, and presents an entirely different prospect that the team which ends the group stage on top.
Full time – finally
This is the first time that Tunisia have beaten European opponents in a World Cup, and gives them an 100% record over France competitively to boot. Although their World Cup journey is over, with Australia's route into the knockout stages confirmed, this ends their spell in Qatar on an enormous high.
The whistle finally blows!
Tunisia's win is sealed, to enormous jubilation in the stands.
Full time... or is it?
Tunisian faces in the stand fall in tandem.
On the pitch, the players look desolate.
But hold on. Hold on. The referee holds on to his earpiece, and blows his whistle again – he's going to look at the Var monitor!
The ball comes through the pack with Griezmann offside, forcing a Tunisian player into action, and then Griezmann has the eventual goal... this is entirely interpretive.
And it goes Tunisia's way! They don't have qualification, but they have a historic victory in their first competitive match against France!
90+8 min: GOAL! Tunisia 1 France 1
Tunisia's ball is sent long to push France as far back as possible, but they come again. Dembele sends in a long cross, which is headed by a flying defender out, but not as far as safety.
The Tunisian bench is clustered around an assistant's phone, as they learn that Australia has achieved qualification as they reach full time against Denmark.
But there's still glory for Tunisia... until... in the final 10 seconds, Griezmann pulls the ball out of the fracas in the box caused by sloppy defending and bang! France have their equaliser!
Insult, meet injury.
90+6 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Mbappe puts too much on his latest attempt, the ball skirting out for a goal kick.
Laidouni sends the ball left out to Kechrida sprinting down the wing, and he motors forward, but slips gracelessly just as he turns to send in a cross.
At the other end, Mbappe has yet another attempt, which is scooped over for a corner.
90+4 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Mbappe takes it, and the ball smacks the wall with a loud thud. On the rebound, he darts back and takes another well-placed shot, which bounces just in front of Dahmen. Harried defenders run in to thump the ball out.
But France are in confident form now, clustered around the edge of the box as if waiting for their equaliser. Jebali doesn't help matters by fouling Camavinga for a free kick.
90+2 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Those added minutes will make ominous news for Tunisian fans. Griezmann runs diagonally on to the edge of the box, before cutting to Mbappe who is just clipped by Chaalali.
Free kick, five yards off the D. Is this where the tables turn?
90 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Kolo Muani takes a strong, but long-range shot after a flicky, impressive short pass from Griezmann. The shot glances just wide, for a French corner, which comes to very little. But when the ball drifts into the box, it's safest punted out of a French throw by Ghandri.
Eight minutes added time, inevitably.
88 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Griezmann plays out to Dembele, heading for the right corner on goal, but again, France lose the ball. Tunisia are content to run it forward without too much of a threat, happier, probably, to profiting from another French mistake.
Mbappe can still thrill, however, down the left before attempting a promising-looking shot on goal which Dahmen is very happy to be wide awake for.
86 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Griezmann has his pocket picked just before he reaches the attacking third, and Tunisia flow back into the French half. But Konate is quick and strong, and again shuts down the sniff of a run in moments.
84 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
France are having difficulty scything through Tunisia, who themselves look unbothered that they've lost the attacking edge, content to sit deep.
Mbappe curves a long diagonal ball to Dembele, who crosses across the box to Rabiot, who can't quite wind it in.
82 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
A tricky passage of play for Tunisia to navigate through as Mbappe sets up a chance for Dahmen to spring out and save, but he doesn't gather it, and concedes a corner. He is forced into a catch after the ball spills out for Dembele on the edge of the box to curl in.
Tunisia make one more change, Ben Slimane out for Al-Abdi, in a purely defensive move.
80 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Mbappe and Griezmann combine for a decisive way through for France. When they're pushed back, Dembele sends in a whipped cross which Dahmen falls and pushes out. Not cleared to safety, Tunisia work overtime to force France out for a corner.
The ball is headed over the top by a Tunisian head, so they reset for another one. France profit little from it, pushed back to the edge of the half.
78 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Maaloul goes down after engaging in the lightest of entanglements with Disasi, but he's up in no time, as his pleas for the referee fall on deaf ears.
For France, Guendouzi is swapped out for Dembele.
76 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
France hold on to the ball, stringing together a spell of possession, before Mbappe is fed on the left. There's no joy for him there, and play falls back to a holding rhythm as France continue to edge forward.
All of the Tunisia players are now massed around their box, in full defensive mode. France are having a hard time picking through, at present.
74 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Mbappe gives the ball away cheaply, as if France's incomplete first half performance is contagious.
Tunisia make a change now: Ben Romdhane, who has been, by contast, very good, is swapped for Chaalali.
73 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Mbappe has his first shot, an optimistic wide-flier that doesn't both Dahmen too much.
Griezmann is France's next substitute, as Fofana, who hasn't had a fabulous day, is rightly hooked.
71 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Fofana plays straight to a white-shirted Tunisia player, and play flips back into the French half. Konate coolly shuts down the challenge, as France look to gain territory on the other side of the halfway line.
Winning the ball, Skhiri sets off on a one-man mission, but he's immediately set upon by dark blue shirts.
68 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Jebali ushers the ball through looking for Laidouni, and Saliba goes for the inteception. Although missed, another defender's block sets up a Tunisia corner.
It's knocked out by a Tunisia player: goal kick.
66 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Jebali has his first touch as play restarts and is instantly tumbled by Tchouameni.
Let's see what France can claw back with some fresh legs, and talented ones at that.
Jebali breaks on the left, looking for a route through, and is now set upon by Rabiot. He stays down, clutching at his leg.
Meanwhile, to add to the melee, we have an apparently acrobatic pitch invader to further halt play.
63 min: Tunisia 1 France 0
Ben Romdhane goes down injured after heavy contact with Disasi. He stays down, with possible concussion, and the game grinds to a halt.
Elsewhere, Australia have scored. This knocks Tunisia out of contention, and would send Australia through in their stead.
Meanwhile, Khazri is replaced by Jebali, and France makes three changes: Saliba, Rabiot, and Mbappe on for Varane, Veretout and Coman.
What this means
If Denmark and Australia finish without scoring, Australia and Tunisia will be level, but Tunisia will be ahead on goals – 0 to -2.
58 min: GOAL! Tunisia 1 France 0
Maaloul breaks on the left and crosses into the box, but again, Mandanda leaps out to collect the shot before it can do further damage.
Within moments, however, Tunisia sneak the ball back, as they have done time and time again this afternoon. Khazri breaks bullishly, after Fofana loses the ball to Skhriki. He runs, and runs, as Mandanda comes out, and as he's set upon by defenders he gets the shot away and...
The ball rolls in! Tunisia have their first goal, and with it, they move up into second place in the group! The heavily-Tunisian crowd is alight!
56 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tchouameni looks to set up a sprinting Fofana just over the halfway line, but his touch falters, and Tunisia can win back possession.
Kechrida sends in a left-flying ball from the sidelines towards the box, which Disasi leaves for his goalkeeper to smother quickly.
54 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Deschamps, nails bitten down to the quick, covers his mouth as he confers with an assistant. Are there changes to be made for France, inevitably, but when?
53 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia get a good-looking chance after Laidouni sprints into the box, pursued by Konate. Konate is tumbled in the battle, the free kick going France's way. In the flood, Fofana goes down, but he's up and shaking himself off moments later.
Running down the right, Kechrida shakes off Veretout, and wins a throw in, Tunisia looking like none of their confidence has been lost in the break.
50 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Laidouni sends a fabulous bouncing ball rightwards to Kechrida, streaking down the right. France push them back, but Tunisia come again, this time, Ben Romdhane looking to slide through from the edge of the box, but he's lacking support and France shut down the run.
Breaking, Fofana in the Tunisian half attempts to slip the ball to a running Coman, but there's too much power on the play, and the ball falls back to Tunisia.
48 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Ghandri thumps a promising French ball out of danger, back for a throw-in, as France lurk inside the Tunisia half looking to open their account today.
Veretout is tumbled by Ben Romdhane, but they both get to their feet, dusting one another off, with little incidence.
46 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia look for a route forward, as Meriah crosses in to Khazri in the box. French fans fold their breath after Tchouameni tussles with Khazri for the ball, and Khazri goes down.
But the referee waves play on. Tchouameni got an important toe to the ball.
France get us underway, this half. No changes for either team as we restart.
Who's had a first half to remember? And who might be in danger of being hooked before the restart?
Group D – as it stands
France - 7pts
Australia - 4pts
Denmark - 2pts
Tunisia - 2pts
Things are nil-nil at the Al Janoub Stadium in Denmark v Australia too, and should it stay that way, Australia advance.
Jeremy Wilson's half-time thoughts
Tunisia have been much the better team in the first-half and it currently feels like a huge opportunity is in reach. Big question now is whether France manager Didier Deschamps changes things and brings on some of his stars or simply lets the match run its course. France unlikely to lose top spot in the group - which would place them in the same quarter of the draw as England - even if they did lose.
45+2 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Veretout is brought down deep inside the French half by Ben Slimane, the ball swiped, but possession falls back to the French after the masked Skhiri brings down Camavinga. Ball punted up long, the French seek to set up an attack, but quick as a flash, Tunisia can break and launch their own counter.
Khazri has an optimisitic shot from 30 yards out, but the ball flies over the cross bar.
The whistle blows! Stirring team talks all round.
45 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
France turn up the temperatures just over the halfway line inside the Tunisia half, and Kolo Muani looks to set up on the left of goal, but focus slips and the ball is whisked out from under him by the marauding Tunisian side.
Two minutes of time to be added.
43 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Coman goes down, but can't attract the attention of the referee to call for a foul. Tunisia are off, Skhiri picking up to set up another attack. Khazri lines up a cross flat across goal, but no team-mate can poke it into the French goal.
41 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia break the spell of France's possession, Khazri firing over the halfway line, but he's set upon in a thicket of dark blue shirts, and doesn't have an outlet to pass to.
Guendouzi plays a sloppy crossed pass that is too heavy for a team-mate to pick up, the ball rolling up to the dugouts for a Tunisia throw.
39 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Kolo Muani attempts to sneak into the box, but the Tunisia defence are confident as locking up and keeping this skittish France team up as they are advancing up the field.
But France are looking more comfortable now, Coman sneaking in from the right to deliver a rocket into the box which springs back to the halfway line.
37 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia are yet to score a goal in this tournament, and the first thirty-odd minutes sum things up nicely. Heaped tablespoons of pressure, buzzy play, and some fine chances, but a major, clinical failing in the attacking third.
Letting France get more comfortable, and allowing for possible big-beast changes in the second half, should sharpen the mind.
35 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
As Tunisia break on the break, a loose pass from the box up from Varane lands with Khazri. He's close enough to fire a shot to Mandanda, who makes the save, but on the rebound, the ball has to be thumped out for a corner.
France have been put under unerring pressure by Tunisia thus far.
33 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia tussles for the ball, and Laidouni wins a throw-in by the halfway line, which he sends, after much consideration, to Khazri, immediately undersiege.
He draws a free kick, immediately toppled, and the ball goes out to Maaloul for the player to whip in, looking for Ghandri to get on the end of it. It's defended out, for a corner, which Camavinga smothers. France break for an attack, but it's stymied before France can delve inside the final third.
31 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Laidouni wins the ball on the right, and goes tearing towards goal, as French defenders scramble to muscle the ball out for a corner.
The ball is played to the near post, where Camavinga can knock the ball out for a second attempt.
The next time, a similar tale: Camavinga this time heads the ball low away from goal, and Tunisia can't move quickly enough to do anything with the remains.
28 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Kechrida picks up the match's first yellow card, after he applies his boot crunchingly to a French player's foot.
Jeremy Wilson sends us an update from Education City
Biggest issue for France is not so much the quality of their starting team but how so many players are being asked to play out of position to cover in areas of their squad where they are now down to one specialist option.
Tunisia, roared on by their vociferous support, dominated the opening 20 minutes but France have finally gained a good foothold in the game and Kingsley Coman just missed an excellent chance.
Camavinga, left back here, has certainly looked happier.
26 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia are confidently wedged in France's half now, and France look two steps behind. Guendouzi stops the rot and play spins to the right, as France break down the wing. Coman gets forward in time, running into the box onto Fofana's pass, but he funks his first touch, and the shot with his second is similarly wobbly.
The ball flies well wide, Dahmen not troubled into stretching for a save.
24 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Kechrida picks up a lovely high diagonal ball which sprints in front of him, but Konate clings to him as he runs, and forces a mistake for France's goal kick.
22 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Khazri, surrounded by dark blue, slips the ball through to his team-mate in the box, but France sneak back possession, Camavinga looking for an outlet down the left. Khazri comes in for a hefty challenge, which rightfully goes against him.
Camavinga picks up a loose ball deep inside Tunisia's half, trying to stitch together an attack, but he's surrounded quickly, and can't get things to ignite.
19 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Camavinga threads the ball through to Guendouzi, but under pressure in Tunisia's half, the Marseille man knocks the ball out of play.
Ben Slimane looks for an outlet down the right, but has the ball sneaked back by France. Tchouameni tries to make some ground, but goes down in a tangle, a foul not given.
17 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia have another opportunity in the box, Ben Slimane picking up a tricky, loping ball in a tussle with Varane, but can't find sturdy ground, and France can recapture possession and try and settle the game.
Holding onto the ball, however, at this stage, would be a good start.
15 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia profit from another spell of sloppy defending with a free kick just south of the box. Maaloul sends in a curling free kick which Mandanda can collect with very little difficulty.
As play skitters down to the Tunisian half, France win their first corner of the match, which is defended out for another. This time, Tunisia can get away, Khazri sneaking through the midfield, before setting up Laidouni. Laidouni nutmegs Camavinga beautifully, and is knocked down for his efforts.
13 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia win a corner which is executed very poorly, nestling on top of the French goal. But as France attempt to play up, Veretout loses the ball and Khazri runs forward into the box. Veretout tangles with him, and goes down, but it's melodramatic to say the least, and waved away casually.
10 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia might have deserved an early lead. This odds-and-ends France side look a little ragged, and lack flow. Tunisia, buzzing around for possession, have already gifted them a few early scares, none more than the disallowed goal.
That goal would have put Tunisia into second place in the group, level with Australia, but stronger on goal difference.
The Tunisian fans are in anguish, watching a replay of the offside ruling on the big screen.
8 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Again, Ben Romdhane goes for broke on the right, kept to closely by Tchouameni. In the end, he tumbles him, and lines up a free kick for Tunisia by the side line.
Khazri lines up to send in a low, flying ball for Ghandri, who knocks the ball straight past Mandanda! But Ghandri goes too early, and the goal is immediately ruled offside.
A feisty start for Tunisia, nonetheless.
Jeremy Wilson is at Education City Stadium
The hugely changed France team is the main talking point but you can understand Didier Deschamps's thinking - there won't be other chances to rest key players from the start of a game and his squad has already had its share of injuries. Australia and Denmark unlikely to be too happy if Tunisia do prevail, but French strength in depth ought to be sufficient and it's a big chance for those trying to break into the starting team.
5 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Ben Romdhane sprints down the left, looking for assistance from Ben Slimane, but his team-mate knocks the ball out of play. Some quick passing on the edge of France's box prompts scattergun defending, as the ball flies out for a corner.
It's delivered well, dropping almost in front of Mandanda, but Varane punts the ball up and out of the way.
3 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Commentary informs up that ten of the Tunisian squad are French-born, which adds an interesting wrinkle to this already historically-charged contest. Could we have a moment as we saw in Switzerland/Cameroon, where Breel Embolo scored against the country of his birth?
Khazri goes down after running into a wall-like Camavinga, but the Tunisia captain is up quickly.
1 min: Tunisia 0 France 0
Tunisia looks to get on the front immediately, Ben Slimane trying to slip between Varane and Konate but Mandanda sprints up to gather up the ball.
Varane captains France today, in Lloris' absence: where will the Manchester United man rank in your player ratings today?
Make sure to share your thoughts throughout the match:
Tunisia's national anthem, sung rousingly. The anthem came into effect after Tunisia's independence from the French protectorate.
No surprises then, that La Marseillaise is roundly booed and whistled at by Tunisian fans in the stands. This only spurs the French crowd on to sing their tune louder.
Five minutes to go.
Things are looking lively at Education City Stadium
Players warm up, with less than half an hour to go...
Share your match predictions
How does this impact your match predictions? France possesses incredible depth, which makes it hard to bet against even a starting XI which feels like a B team. But who can resist dreaming of an upset?
Team news in black and white
Tunisia: Dahmen (GK), Meriah, Ghandri, Talbi, Kechrida, Skhiri, Laidouni, Maaloul, Ben Slimane, Ben Romdhane, Khazri
Substitutes: Mathlouthi, Ifa, Bronn, Msakni, Hannibal, Jebali, Khenissi, Sassi, Chaalali, Jaziri, Drager, Ben Said, Sliti, Abdi, Hassen
France: Mandanda (GK), Disasi, Varane, Konate, Camawinga, Fofana, Tchouameni, Veretout, Guendouzi, Kolo Muani, Coman
Substitutes: Lloris, Pavard, Kounde, Griezmann, Giroud, Mbappe, Dembele, Rabiot, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez, Areola, Thuram
A measly six changes for Tunisia, to France's nine.
Can Tunisia bamboozle France's second string?
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of this final round of Group D matches, with France facing Tunisia at Education City Stadium kicking off at 3pm.
With qualification sealed for current World Cup holders France following emphatic wins over Australia and Denmark, head coach Didier Deschamps has chosen to rest a raft of key players, including Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, captain Hugo Lloris, and star man Kylian Mbappe.
When asked whether members of France's strongest XI, Mbappe in particular, would feel slighted starting on the bench, Deschamps was sanguine, stressing that he has no need to worry over 'ego' in the national team.
"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 mroe experienced.
"He wants to play [...] 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."
Guaranteed qualification for Les Bleues allows Deschamps to get minutes in World Cup debutants such as Randal Kolo Muani, Youssouf Fofana and Matteo Guendouzi, among others, in lieu of France's stalwarts.
Tunisia can have no such flexibility, with qualification still in the realms of possibility should they beat today's opponents. They currently sit bottom of the group, having clawed their solitary point from a strong showing against Denmark which ended goalless. But Denmark, too, have had a stilted start to the tournament, and they share the bottom spot.
It might take some doing, but as with a large swathe of these final group matchings, there's everything to play for, and the absence of some of France's best and brightest is as much of a way in as Tunisia could hope for.
Stay tuned for team news, build-up, and full coverage: you can also follow along with the other 3pm kick-off in this group, which sees Australia face Denmark, here.