Khazri ends Tunisias long wait for finals win

Proud Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez reacted angrily to a suggestion his World Cup debutants were the "worst team" in Russian Federation, insisting the 55th-ranked Central Americans had competed valiantly despite big disadvantages.

Tunisia wrapped up their Group G encounter at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation with a 2-1 win over debutants Panama at the Mordovia Arena on Thursday, June 28.

Federation Internationale de Football Association allow injury replacements in the World Cup only up until 24 hours before a team's first game.

Tunisia went down fighting in their final 2018 FIFA World Cup outing and beat debutants Panama 2-1 on Thursday to ensure they avoided the wooden spoon finish in Group G.

And at the end of the day, both Panama and Tunisia are out of the competition, while Belgium and England progress through to the next round. Fakhreddine Ben Yousseff equalized just after the restart with a neatly-taken goal and Wahbi Khazri scored a second to end Tunisia's long drought.

Ben Youssef did eventually find the reply for the Carthage Eagles five minutes after the break with a simple finish inside the box following some crisp attacking play from the North Africans.

Tunisia's victory was expected, looking more competitive in losses to England and Belgium than Panama, which was competing in its first World Cup.

Spirited Panama go down fighting: Panama may have suffered heavy defeats to Belgium and England but given their pedigree and the size of their nation, their campaign has been far from an embarrassment.

"We're the newest team, it's obvious, and the one that has the most difficulties".

"We were much more level in this match than in others", he said.

Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres helped set up the opening goal with a composed, accurate pass from the top of the area back and toward the middle of the field to Rodriguez.

The goal came against the run of play.

Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri is arguably his country's best player and will play a large role if Tunisia are going to win on Thursday. Tunisia dominated the match with 64-per cent possession and finished with 15 shots to Panama's nine. The second taste of victory in the cup and first for its players, and it's something they will never forget.

  • Stacy Allen