Tunisia go out with heads held high says matchwinner Khazri

AFP , Wednesday 30 Nov 2022

Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri said his side would go out of the World Cup with heads held high after completing their campaign with a shock 1-0 win over holders France on Wednesday.

Tunisia s Wahbi Khazri applauds at the end of the match during the World Cup group D soccer match be
Tunisia s Wahbi Khazri applauds at the end of the match during the World Cup group D soccer match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. AP

"Of course we are disappointed to be going out because we didn't do enough in the first two matches so we are left with a bit of a bitter taste but I think we have made the Tunisian people proud," said Khazri, who scored the only goal of the game in the second half.

It is Tunisia's first ever World Cup win against European opposition and it left them with four points in Group D after they started off by drawing with Denmark and losing to Australia.

However, it was not enough for them to reach the last 16 for the first time in their history as Australia beat the Danes 1-0 in Wednesday's other game to progress alongside the already-qualified French.

France coach Didier Deschamps made nine changes to his side with Kylian Mbappe among the players rested, but Khazri dismissed suggestions that the holders had not taken Tunisia seriously.

"They still had top-class players out there but we were superb and I think the result is down to us," he said.

"Unfortunately in football it is better not to have to rely on others for results, but we can go out with our heads held high."

Brought up on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, Khazri was one of six French-born players in the Tunisian line-up and also plays his club football in France for Montpellier.

"I come from a little place in Corsica and here I was playing against players who I usually watch on television playing in the Champions League," he said.

"France have already shown they can win the World Cup and now I hope they go all the way."

Meanwhile coach Jalel Kadri refused to discuss his own future after Tunisia completed their best World Cup campaign since 1978.

"The contract I have is based on objectives," said Kadri, who had eyed a place in the last 16.

"The objective was not fulfilled but we still have some time to look at things before we take a final decision and that will be up to the Tunisian Federation."

Check the 2022 World Cup schedule and groups standings.

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