Friday, January 27, 2023

WC: France lose to Tunisia but reach last 16 with Aus, US, Eng

Tunisia beats France but fails to reach last 16

Tunisia secured a famous victory as they beat much-changed reigning World Cup champions France in their Group D finale but it wasn’t enough to reach the last 16.
Veteran playmaker Wahbi Khazri scored the winner for Tunisia in the second half as for two minutes they were in the last 16, but then Australia took the lead in the other Group D game as the Socceroos held on to take second spot ahead of Tunisia.
France boss Didier Deschamps rested several key players including Mbappe, Griezmann, Rabiot and Dembele (who all had a big impact late on off the bench), while Giroud, Lloris and Upamecano didn’t feature at all.
The French thought they had equalized through Griezmann with 14 seconds of the eight minutes of stoppage time to go but VAR chalked the goal off for offside and Tunisia got the win.
Tunisia finished in third place on four points in Group D, while France finished top on six points as they were above second-place Australia on goal difference.
Australia beat Denmark 1-0
Australia advanced to the round of 16 at the World Cup, beating favored Denmark 1-0 Wednesday on Mathew Leckie’s 60th-minute goal.
It is Australia’s first time in the knockout stage since 2006, the only other time they advanced out of the group stage.
Leckie took a pass just around the center circle and moved in and around a Danish defender, eventually lacing a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel diving to his left.
Australia finished with six points in Group D.
The World Cup proved to be a major disappointment for Denmark after reaching the semifinals in the 2020 European Championship. They slogged through a 0-0 draw in their opening match with Tunisia and then recovered in a 2-1 loss against France.
The Danes attacked from the start against Australia but could never break through with the Socceroos.
Pulisic sends fired-up US to last 16
The United States stormed into the World Cup last 16 on Tuesday by beating Iran 1-0 at a cacophonous Al Thumama Stadium after Christian Pulisic bundled the ball home in a Group B showdown shrouded by decades of enmity between the two nations.
Pulisic’s 38th minute goal proved enough for the Americans to advance at the expense of their geopolitical rivals in a rematch of their 1998 World Cup group stage meeting, which Iran had won 2-1 at a time when bilateral relations were hostile.
Sergino Dest headed the ball into the path of the sprinting Pulisic, who swept it into the net to momentarily silence the raucous Iranian supporters in front of him but he crashed into the outstretched Alireza Beiranvand in the process.
Pulisic was back on his feet after receiving treatment for a few minutes but did not look comfortable and he was replaced by Brenden Aaronson at the break after sustaining an abdominal injury, in a major blow for the Americans’ knockout stage hopes.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said the Chelsea forward was taken to hospital as a precaution. His team, who drew their first two games, will face three-times finalists Netherlands on Saturday for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Americans finished two points behind Group B winners England to reach the last 16 for the fifth time since 1994. Iran finished third with three points, with Wales bottom with one point.
Iran only needed a point to advance but they were largely restricted to playing on the counter and unable to muster a credible attempt at scoring until the second half.
Eng advances after beating Wales 3-0
Marcus Rashford dropped to his knees and pointed up to the sky. The England forward had just scored against Wales at the World Cup, starting off a 3-0 victory that sent his team into the round of 16.
Rashford scored two goals at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, making him the co-leading scorer at the World Cup with three goals – the same as France striker Kylian Mbappe and two others. Phil Foden, another England player who made his first start in Qatar on Tuesday, got the other.
Rashford played at the last World Cup in 2018 and also at the 2020 European Championship, but the 25-year-old Manchester United forward was considered to be fortunate to make England coach Gareth Southgate’s squad for this year’s tournament.
Ever since his miss in the penalty shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, Rashford has been going through a turbulent period in his career, compounded by injuries. He and teammate Bukaya Saka, both of them Black, were racially abused after missing their penalties in the shootout at Wembley Stadium.
In Qatar, Southgate opted to leave Rashford and Foden on the bench in the first two matches against Iran and the United States, starting with Saka and Raheem Sterling up front alongside captain Harry Kane.
Rashford came on a substitute in the 6-2 victory over Iran and scored one of the goals. Foden played 19 minutes in that match.
Against the United States, England was held to a 0-0 draw with Rashford again coming in off the bench. The lineup changed for the final Group B match against Wales, and both Rashford and Foden took advantage of their time on the field.
Rashford put England in the lead with a free kick in the 50th minute, and followed it with that tribute to his late friend. Foden added the second only one minute later, and Rashford made it 3-0 in the 68th.
The win guaranteed England first place in the group. The team will next face Senegal in the round of 16 on Sunday.

Australia’s Mitchell Duke controls the ball during the World Cup group D soccer match.
Christian Pulisic scores a goal against Iran during the first half of a group stage.
England’s Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring the opening goal during group B soccer match.
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