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After holding Denmark to a creditable 0-0 draw in their Group D opener on Tuesday, Tunisia will be aiming to secure a victory when they come up against Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday.
The Carthage Eagles will once again experience fine support in the stands – something coach Jalel Kadri was very appreciative of against the Danes: “The fan factor was very positive for us. It mentally gave us a great lift and we are looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that for us,” he explained.
“It really helped us in the game, but tactically and physically we did well too. We are in a strong group and today we have one point. This will give us energy for the next game.”
As for Australia, coach Graham Arnold says his team relishes being the “underdogs”: “We like to be written off at all costs. We like to have our backs up against the wall and no one giving us a chance, and to come out fighting.”
Youssef Msakni – Tunisia’s key attacker wasn’t quite able to break down Denmark’s defence earlier in the week, but nonetheless put in a workmanlike performance and will back himself to enjoy better fortune against the Socceroos.
Mathew Leckie – Versatile attacker Leckie will be tasked with sparking Australia’s forward play, and Tunisia would do well to try and starve the 31-year-old Melbourne City star of the ball for this clash on Saturday afternoon.
In head-to-head stats, Tunisia and Australia have met in two previous matches, with each side claiming one victory. Their most recent meeting was a Confederation Cup clash in June 2005 in Leipzig which the Carthage Eagles won 2-0.
The Socceroos have faced African opponents just once at the World Cup, recording a 1-1 draw with Ghana in 2010, while Tunisia have twice come up against Asian opponents at the tournament, resulting in one draw and one defeat.
Battles to watch
Jalel Kadri v Graham Arnold – Both Kadri and Arnold are optimistic coaches, setting their teams up with positivity in mind. The Tunisian tactician will hope to outwit his counterpart at the Socceroos and lead the Carthage Eagles to three points.
Yassine Meriah v Mitchell Duke – Meriah had a solid game for Tunisia against Denmark and will back himself to keep Australian striker Duke quiet, as the Carthage Eagles chase a potentially key victory at Qatar 2022.
Aissa Laidouni v Jackson Irvine – Two all-action midfielders, Laidouni and Irvine will both hope that their energy and mobility gives their team an edge in the all-important battle for dominance in the ‘engine room’.
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FIFA World Cup broadcast details
Saturday 26 November
12:00: Group D, Tunisia v Australia – LIVE on SuperSport PSL, SuperSport Maximo 1, SuperSport Maximo 2, SuperSport GOtv La Liga and SuperSport GOtv Select 1