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– Tunisia have kept clean sheets in eight of their last nine games
– Fewer than three goals have been scored in seven of Australia’s last 12 games
– Recommended bet: Under 2.5 goals
Australia face a must-not-lose Group D clash with a Tunisia side seeking their third-ever World Cup finals win at Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday.
A defeat to the Eagles of Carthage, coupled with any result other than a draw between France and Denmark in the group’s other game would mean early elimination for Graham Arnold’s side.
The Socceroos were thumped 4-1 by France in their opener after taking a shock lead against the defending champions, while Tunisia took plenty of confidence from being roared on by their fanatical supporters during a goalless draw with Denmark.
Jalel Kadri’s side are in good spirits ahead of a game where victory would go a long way to sealing their first progression beyond the group stage at their sixth World Cup.
Tunisia have reported no fresh injury concerns from their tournament opener and could line up in a similar system with one significant change to the personnel.
Midfield playmaker Wahbi Khazri, who has scored 24 goals for the national team, is a candidate to be recalled to the starting XI after sitting on the bench throughout the Denmark game on Tuesday.
If the former Sunderland and Bordeaux star gets the nod from Kadri, Anis Ben Slimane is probably the one to make way.
Hannibal Mejbri will also be hoping for another opportunity to impress after becoming just the second teenager to play for Tunisia in a World Cup match when he came on for the final few minutes at Education City Stadium.
Socceroos boss Arnold could name an unchanged side, despite seeing his team crumble at the hands of the holders on Tuesday night.
Skipper Mat Ryan will continue in goal in front of a back four comprising of Nathaniel Atkinson, Kye Rowles and Harry Souttar, together with the experienced Aziz Behich.
Aaron Mooy and Jackson Irvine provide the midfield protection with Riley McGree operating in the number 10 role, while Mitch Duke leads the line between Craig Goodwin and Mathew Leckie in attack.
Awer Mabil and Garang Kuol appear likely to be held in reserve for roles as impact substitutes.
Khazri has been directly involved in each of Tunisia’s last four goals at the World Cup finals (2 goals, 2 assists).
The North African outfit kept their second clean sheet in 16 World Cup matches when they drew 0-0 with Denmark.
The Eagles of Carthage had just 38.7% of possession against Denmark and their passing accuracy in the opposition half was a disappointing 55.4%.
After losing 4-1 to France, the Socceroos have now managed only one clean sheet in their 17 World Cup finals games.
Eleven of those 17 games have ended in defeat and Australia have not posted any wins from their last seven clashes — their longest winless streak in the competition.
Tunisia were very well organised and carried a surprising goal threat against Denmark, despite not fielding a couple of their most creative players on Tuesday.
This is a game for them to be more expansive and push for the win that would put them in a great position to make the round of 16.
They specialise in 1-0 wins — three of their last seven victories coming by that score — and this certainly feels like a game where goals could be at a premium.
Seven of Australia’s last 12 games have rewarded backers of Under 2.5 goals, while Tunisia have maintained clean sheets in eight of their last nine games.
That suggests this could be a game where fewer than three goals are scored, a solid option to back at 3/5 with LiveScore Bet.
LiveScore Bet’s World Cup 2022 Squads is free and simple to play. Log in to view the Squads page, where you’ll get the chance to reveal up to five players. Your squad will earn you cash for each goal scored in the listed games. Reveal each player at the stated time throughout the round to complete your line-up. T&Cs apply – click here for more details.
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