Tunisia leaves the world cup with a 2-1 win on Thursday in Saransk over Panama which had also earlier being eliminated from Group G. Belgium won Group G beating England 1-0 to second place.
Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri set up a second-half goal and then scored one of his own to help his side secure its first victory in a World Cup in four decades.
The striker’s hard, rising shot in the 66th minute lifted Tunisia to a 2-1 triumph over Panama on Thursday night. It came 15 minutes after Khazri’s pinpoint square pass produced Fakhreddine Ben Youssef’s equalizer.
Panama had taken the lead in the 33rd minute through an own-goal when Jose Luis Rodriguez’s hard shot deflected off of a Tunisia player that sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.
The Khazri goal ended Tunisia’s run of 13 consecutive matches without a win at the FIFA World Cup. It’s a great victory for these players.
Tunisia hadn’t won a World Cup game since a 3-1 victory over Mexico in 1978.
Panama held a 1-0 halftime lead after a goal set up in part by Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres. His pass set up Rodriguez’s left-footed shot that deflected off Tunisia forward Yassine Meriah. It became the 50th own-goal in World Cup history when Meriah turned his body to block the shot and ended up sending it inside the far post after Mathlouthi had already started moving the other way,
The goal came against the run of play. Tunisia dominated the match with 64-percent possession and finished with 15 shots to Panama’s nine.
“This is the nature of the World Cup. There are highs and lows. You never want to leave. We had two, actually three, very difficult teams with a lot of experience at this level. Hopefully Panama will return to a World Cup and not be the worst.” Hernan Gomez, Panama coach said.
“Today’s match was a well-deserved victory for the Tunisian side. When we landed in this group we knew very well that our best hope would be to come third in this group. It is true that we conceded many goals but we conceded goals when we were met with very tough opponents.” Tunisia coach said.
Both Panama and Tunisia failed to qualify for the knockout stage after losing two games each during the group stage. In Group G, Tunisia ranked third with three points, while Panama finished at the bottom of Group G. Belgium and England advanced to the round of 16.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.