Tunisia survived a late VAR scare as they held tournament dark horses Denmark to a pulsating 0-0 draw in their opening group game to leave Group D wide open ahead of France’s clash with Australia later on Tuesday.
Tunisia, backed by a vociferous band of support, began the game stronger, with the African side pressing Denmark high up the pitch and preventing their talented midfield trio from having any time on the ball.
They almost got their reward too, with Jebali poking home for the visitors only to see the offside flag raised, before he was thwarted later by an excellent Kasper Schmeichel save (though he may again have been offside).
The Eagles of Carthage continued to go toe-to-toe with their European foes in the second half, however, even as Denmark grew into the game, and rode their luck as Christian Eriksen stung Dahmen’s palms and Andreas Cornelius produced an astonishing miss to keep the scorelines level.
Deep into five minutes of added time, VAR did its utmost to break Tunisian hearts, sending the referee to the monitor as they noticed a handball in the penalty area from a corner.
In dramatic fashion, however, and against what so often occurs, the referee stuck to his original decision, pointing instead to a goal kick rather than to the spot, and handing Tunisia a valuable point in the process.
It leaves France able to take a strong grasp on Group D should they beat minnows Australia later, though Saudi Arabia’s earlier upset proved that will be no formality.
GK: Kasper Schmeichel - 7
Made one incredible save in the first half, and was confident in between the sticks for the Danes.
RWB: Rasmus Kristensen - 5
Picked up a needless booking and couldn’t really get into the game in an attacking sense.
CB: Andreas Christensen - 6
Wasn’t at his best defensively, but was Denmark’s hub of progression, completing the most passes in the game and keeping play moving.
CB: Simon Kjaer - 6
Was given a tough evening against Jebali but battled well before he was taken off just after the hour amid a change of shape.
CB: Joachim Andersen - 5
Was wasteful with his passing and looked a little off the pace at the back against the tenacious Tunisians.
LWB: Joachim Maehle - 6
Denmark’s most dangerous threat but couldn’t find any end product.
CM: Christian Eriksen - 6
Much of his creativity was lost on his teammates, but he pulled the strings to good effect and improved as the second half went on.
CM: Thomas Delaney - 6
Was having an okay game until injury cut his participation short in first-half stoppage time.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - 5
Couldn’t really get into the game as much as his fellow midfielders.
ST: Andreas Skov-Olsen - 5
Produced one nice finish but play had already been called back for offside. Was otherwise largely ineffective.
ST: Kasper Dolberg - 5
Struggled to hold up the ball to any great degree and offered very little end product, not managing a shot on target before he was withdrawn just after the hour.
Mikkel Damsgaard - 5
Came on late in the first half, but couldn’t reproduce his Euro2020 heroics 18 months on.
Andreas Cornelius - 4
The former Cardiff City forward produced one of the misses of the tournament from two yards out
Jesper Lindstrom - 6
Looked dangerous and went close with a fizzing effort late on.
Matias Jensen - 5
Picked up a yellow card late on and was otherwise solid but unspectacular.
GK: Aymen Dahmen - 6
Didn’t have too much to do but did what he needed to without fuss.
RWB: Mohamed Drager - 7
Went close with a deflected effort in the first half, and looked a constant threat from wing-back.
CB: Dylan Bronn - 7
Happy to throw his body on the line for Tunisia, but was often left a little exposed by Drager’s exploits forward.
CB: Montassar Talbi - 8
A strong performance from the imposing defender.
CB: Yassine Meriah - 8
Won plenty in the air and hardly offered the Danes a sniff in and around the penalty area.
LWB: Ali Abdi - 8
Gave Kristensen a problem going back towards his own goal and looked solid defensively.
CM: Aissa Laidouni - 8
Set the tone for the game with a strong slide tackle in the opening seconds, and battled excellently in the centre of the park for his side.
CM: Ellyes Skhiri - 8
Worked excellently in tandem with his partner to successfully negate the Danish midfield.
RW: Anis Ben Slimane - 6
Was very rarely involved and was taken off after just over an hour.
ST: Issam Jebali - 8
Thought he had opened the scoring only for the offside flag to cut short his joy, and forced a world-class save from Schmeichel later in the half.
LW: Youssef Msakni - 7
Tunisia’s captain worked hard and got himself into good goalscoring positions, but could not ultimately make them count.
Naim Sliti - 5
Worked hard but was often on the periphery.
Hannibal - 5
Lucky to survive a penalty shout when he brought down Maehle, and everything that he did seemed to inspire chaos rather than calm.
Yassine Khenissi - 6
A late change, he added fresh legs but no real quality.
Ferjani Sassi- N/A
On for the final five minutes.
Wajdri Kechrida - N/A
On for the final five minutes.