Tunisia come from behind against Panama to end World Cup on a high

Fakhreddine Ben Youssef scores the 2,500th goal in tournament history in Saransk

Tunisia’s forward Fakhreddine Ben Youssef scores the 2,500th goal in World Cup history. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty

Tunisia’s forward Fakhreddine Ben Youssef scores the 2,500th goal in World Cup history. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty

 

Panama 1 Tunisia 2

Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri set up the first goal and scored the second to give the North African side their first World Cup win in 40 years with a 2-1 victory over debutants Panama in their final Group G match on Thursday.

Fakhreddine Ben Youssef turned in Khazri’s perfect cross in the 51st minute to cancel out a first-half own goal by defender Yassine Meriah, with the ball taking a big deflection off a shot by Panama winger Jose Luis Rodriguez in the 33rd minute.

Making their fifth World Cup appearance, Tunisia dominated possession and took the lead after 66 minutes when Khazri finished of a sleek passing move with a tap-in.

Tunisia were the first African country to win a World Cup finals game, beating Mexico in Argentina in 1978, but had since drawn four and lost nine, including Saturday’s 5-2 defeat by Belgium.

Tunisia’s forward Wahbi Khazri is challenged by Panama’s defender Harold Cummings and Roman Torres. Photograph: Juan Berreto/AFP/Getty
Tunisia’s forward Wahbi Khazri is challenged by Panama’s defender Harold Cummings and Roman Torres. Photograph: Juan Berreto/AFP/Getty

Both teams had already failed to progress to the last 16 with Belgium and England qualifying from the group.

Panama: Penedo; Machado, Roman Torres (Tejada 56), Escobar, Ovalle; Barcenas, Godoy, Gomez, Avila (Arroyo 81), Jose Luis Rodriguez; Gabriel Torres (Cummings 46). Booked: Avila,Gomez,Tejada.

Tunisia: Mathlouthi; Nagguez, Bedoui, Meriah, Haddadi; Sassi (Badri 46), Skhiri, Chaalali; Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Khazri (Srarfi 89), Sliti (Khalil 76). Booked: Sassi,Badri,Chaalali.

Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain).

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