Australia stays alive at World Cup with Mitch Duke’s header
Australia defeated Tunisia 1-0 in their second World Cup match, with Mitchell Duke’s header early in the first half keeping the Socceroos’ hopes of qualification alive in the highly competitive clash.
It was Australia’s first World Cup victory in 12 years and with it, they move up to second in Group D behind reigning champions France.
Striker Duke scored midway through the first half with a glancing header past keeper Aymen Dahmen to give Australia the lead, while Tunisia’s best chance came when skipper Youssef Msakni shot just wide.
The victory, only the third for Australia in six visits to the World Cup, was the perfect response to their 4-1 drubbing at the hands of France on Tuesday.
Tunisia made clear their intentions from the start, ranging five defenders and two holding midfielders across the pitch and inviting the Australians to try to break them down.
Australia had some success getting the ball down the flanks but the final ball into the area rarely got anywhere near a blue shirt as the Tunisian defenders wrapped up the Socceroos’ forwards.
Craig Goodwin’s cross from the left looked to be heading the same way until it took a hefty deflection off a Tunisian defender and looped to Duke, who nodded it into the far right corner of the net.
The goal was the first conceded by Tunisia against any team barring Brazil in their last 11 matches and forced the Tunisians out of their defensive shell.
They brought on the squad’s top scorer, Wahbi Khazri, in the second half as they upped the tempo in search of an equaliser, but the Australian defence stood firm with goalkeeper and skipper Mat Ryan a calming presence at the back.
The victory snapped Australia’s seven-match winless run at World Cups since they last picked up three points in a victory over Serbia in 2010.