Education City Stadium forms the backdrop for France’s final 2022 World Cup Group D encounter against Tunisia, with the kick-off scheduled for Wednesday at 3.00 pm.
A keenly-contested goalless draw with Denmark in their Group D match handed the Eagles of Carthage’s bid to reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time a huge boost.
However, the early optimism quickly subsided as Jalel Kadri’s team fell to a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat at the hands of Australia last time out, putting themselves in an almost-impossible situation.
To reach the round of 16, Tunisia must beat defending champions France and hope Denmark go unbeaten against Australia in the group’s remaining contest to stand a chance of locking down a knockout berth.
By contrast, Les Bleus have become the first nation in Qatar to qualify for the first knockout round by winning both group-stage games, a feat only achieved by them, Brazil and Portugal so far.
Didier Deschamps’ men first came from behind to dismantle the Australians 4-1 on day one before Kylian Mbappe’s second-half double inspired them to a 2-1 triumph over Denmark in round two.
After halting an ominous curse that has plagued European reigning world champions for a decade, France boss Deschamps may rotate his team against Tunisia, safe in the knowledge they’ll progress as group winners.
Les Blues have become the first European nation in the 21st century to have booked their ticket to the World Cup knockout phase after lifting the trophy in the previous edition.
Another failed attempt to reach the World Cup knockout stage would barely catch Tunisia by surprise, but going winless in all three group games for the fourth time in six tournament appearances would be a bitter taste in their mouths.
However, the Tunisians will have to make the impossible possible to avoid that scenario, which seems unplausible after drawing a blank in both Group D outings in Qatar.
On top of that, the Eagles of Carthage have registered only two clean sheets in their 12 World Cup fixtures (12%), accounting for the third-lowest percentage among teams to have played 15+ matches in the finals.
Despite their household status in world football, France have alternated between victories and defeats across their five previous World Cup matches against African nations (W3, L2).
Overcoming Nigeria 2-0 in their most recent such match-up in 2014 would, therefore, be an ominous sign. Yet Les Bleus’ ongoing run of six consecutive World Cup triumphs tells a different story.
Deschamps came under scrutiny following France’s poor 2022 UEFA Nations League campaign, but his jaw-dropping 78.6% win ratio in charge at the World Cup should alleviate some of that pressure.
Tunisia vs France Head-to-Head
Tunisia and France will trade tackles in a World Cup match for the first time, but they’ve played four friendly games so far, with Les Bleus going unbeaten on each occasion (W2, D2).
It’s been 12 years since their last meeting. The spoils were shared when they faced each other in a 1-1 draw in 2010.
Tunisia vs France Potential Line-ups
Tunisia (3-4-2-1): Aymen Dahmen; Dylan Bronn, Yassine Meriah, Montassar Talbi; Mohamed Drager, Ellyes Skhiri, Aissa Laidouni, Ali Abdi; Naim Sliti, Wahbi Khazri; Issam Jebali.
France (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez; Matteo Guendouzi, Adrien Rabiot; Kingsley Coman, Eduardo Camavinga, Kylian Mbappe; Marcus Thuram.
Tunisia vs France Prediction
Even with France likely to field an understrength line-up, this should be a tall order for Tunisia, mainly due to their massive scoring woes.
Complacency in the Les Bleus camp could strengthen the Africans’ hopes of getting off the mark in Qatar, but we still anticipate the European heavyweights’ clear-cut triumph.
France 4-1 Tunisia
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