Tunisia pulled off a memorable victory over France in dramatic fashion, but it was not enough to see them through to the next round of the competition, with Didier Deschamps’ side heading into the last 16 along with group minnows Australia who pulled off an equally memorable win.
A much-changed Les Blues side survived an early scare when Tunisia had the ball in the net, only for the offside flag to chalk off the north African’s opener.
France failed to improve, however, and Tunisia looked far the more likely to open the scoring, with several dangerous crosses failing to find a Tunisian forward as they ended the first half in the ascendency.
Their good play was rewarded 15 minutes into the second half, when former Sunderland striker Wahbi Khazri found the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area, handing Tunisia a valuable lead.
Moments later, their dreams of reaching the last 16 were shattered as Australia took the lead against Denmark, leaving Tunisia third despite their heroic efforts.
And, as France upped the ante, they were forced further and further towards their own goal, with Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann all introduced from the substitutes bench.
Amid a late onslaught from Les Blues, Griezmann thought he found the back of the net to level the game, and break Tunisian hearts 10 seconds from the end of added time.
However, VAR came to their aid, with the Atletico Madrid man deemed to be offside. It proved irrelevant in terms of group progression, but it helped Tunisia hold onto a memorable win over the World Champions.
Meanwhile, the French head through atop Group C, leaving them with a clash against the runners-up of a group including Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia, who all play later.
Tunisia player ratings
- GK: Ayem Dahmen (6) - Didn’t have a great deal to do but made one good save from Mbappe.
- RCB: Nader Ghandri (7) - Impressive as France pushed for an equaliser.
- CB: Yassine Meriah (7) - More than held his own against the World Champions, and marshalled Kolo-Muani well.
- LCB: Montassar Talbi (7) - Not really troubled but did what he had to with minimal fuss.
- RWB: Wajdi Kechrida (7) - Excellent in the first half going forwards, and defended well in the second.
- CM: Ellyes Skhiri (8) - Shielded the defence well and was snapping into challenges all evening.
- CM: Aissa Laidouni (9) - Was everywhere for Tunisia in an all-round excellent performance.
- LWB: Ali Maaloul (7) - Kept first Guendouzi and then Dembele quiet for the evening.
- RW: Anis Slimane (6) - Worked hard but without the needed quality in the first half. Faded as the game went on.
- ST: Wahbi Khazri (8) - Was his side’s most important attacker and came up with a great finish for the opening goal of the night. Picked up an injury in the process.
- LW: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (7) - Ran the channels well without ever being too threatening.
- Issam Jebali (6) - Was solid enough when he came on without excelling.
- Ali Abdi (N/A) - Came on for the final 7 minutes
France player ratings
- GK: Steve Mandanda (6) - Looked shaky to begin with but improved. Could do nothing about the Tunisia goal.
- RB: Axel Disasi (6) - Out of position but handled himself enough well in a side that struggled.
- CB: Ibrahima Konate (6) - Dominated in the air in the first half but failed to close down Khazri for the Tunisia goal.
- CB: Raphael Varane (5) - Still looked short of match fitness as he continues to recover from injury.
- LB: Eduardo Camavinga (4) - All at sea defensively but looked more impressive going forwards.
- CDM: Aurelien Tchouameni (6) - Solid at the base of the France midfield and tidy on the ball.
- CM: Youssef Fofana (3) - Lost the ball in midfield for Tunisia’s opener, and looked well off the pace for much of the game.
- CM: Matteo Guendouzi (4) - Looked completely lost as Tunisia’s midfield dominated.
- RW: Jordan Veretout (4) - A significant step down from France’s other midfield options, and looked well out of his depth.
- ST: Randal Kolo Muani (4) - Occasion appeared to overwhelm him and he was largely starved of good service.
- LW: Kingsley Coman (5) - Looked his side’s brightest spark but wasted France’s best first half chance and was replaced on the hour.
- Kylian Mbappe (8) - Uncharacteristically quiet to start with but one incredible run forced a good save late on and he continued to spur his team on
- William Saliba (6) - Was lucky one mistake went unpunished but was otherwise largely untroubled.
- Adrien Rabiot (7) - France improved when he came on, and his efforts were a large reason for that.
- Antoine Griezmann (6) - Injected some quality but felt like too little, too late. Thought he had grabbed an equaliser but had strayed just offside.
- Ousmane Dembele (5) - Struggled to get into the game when coming on.