Australia got off to a good start, and Duke capitalized by expertly flicking Craig Goodwin’s cross into the far corner to give Australia a 1-0 lead after 23 minutes.
The small group of Australian supporters behind the goal exploded into an exuberant celebration after that, temporarily silencing the harsh and unyielding support for Tunisia.
Australia kept onto the slim lead that held their dreams of making it to the round of 16 alive, knowing that losing would mean an early exit from the World Cup.
How Australia’s Mitch Duke beat Tunisia
At first, there were questions about Mitch Duke and whether or not he would be better suited for a match with such a large stake. But the goal that put Australia ahead demonstrated his ability.
Mitch Duke’s overall performance is much regarded in addition to his goal. Many of his critics respect how he went under the opponent’s skin and won the game for his squad.
Australia’s Mitch Duke has dedicated his game-winning goal against Tunisia to his kid, claiming it was “a moment I will keep very dear for the rest of my life.”
Australia’s victory was in grave danger of being placed in Group D prior to its win
At the Al Janoub Stadium, Australia’s players were hissed and jeered throughout the match by a group of red-clad supporters. However, they maintained composure to win their first World Cup match since 2010.
They managed to hold off a frantic onslaught from Tunisia in the second half, with Youssef Msakni forcing Mathew Ryan to make a stop at his near post. However, that came just a few seconds after Mathew Leckie narrowly missed connecting with Goodwin’s cross at the other end.
As Australia dug in, Stoke City defender Harry Souttar put in a standout display, making many crucial blocks and tackles.
Australia will play strong opponents Denmark next, but with qualification still up for grabs after their humiliating loss to France in their opening encounter.
“It’s only one game at the end of the day. For us, nothing will alter “said Graham Arnold, the head of Aus
Important victory for the happy Australians
Given the competition they will face to advance from Group D, this match was significant for both countries.
Australia got off to the best possible start by dominating the first 15 minutes and preventing Tunisia from leaving their half.
Although Goodwin’s opening crosses from the left were stopped, one eventually paid off when Duke skillfully glanced Goodwin’s pass into the far corner. Duke then rushed over to the touchline to a flurry of head pats from his teammates.
Though the goal did not silence the overwhelming majority of Tunisian supporters at Al Janoub Stadium, their team closed the first half stronger with two significant chances to equalize the score.
Just minutes before Tunisia’s captain Msakni almost missed with a volley, Australia’s Souttar produced a key sliding block to stop Mohamed Drager.
In the second half, Tunisia adopted a different strategy and, at times, relentlessly attacked Australia. Before Souttar stepped once more in to thwart a potentially devastating counterattack, Aaron Mooy had to make another crucial block.
When Tunisia’s replacement Wahbi Khazri came close to scoring a tying goal it was six minutes to the end of the game. The tension in the crowd was evident.
Australia, who had to win two playoffs to get to the tournament in Qatar, held on for the big win. They now have everything to play for in their final group encounter.
What’s next for Tunisia
Tunisia’s manager, Jalel Kadri, is hopeful even though his team is almost certain to lose their final match against France.
“Even the more powerful teams have fallen to the underdogs. Although it is incredibly upsetting that we lost today, there is still one more game left, “said Kadri.
“We’ll play with all of our confidence. We’ll play as hard as we can. I’m hoping that next time we will be lucky. We’ll let football take us by surprise. We’ll give it everything we’ve got and give it our all, ” Kadri added.