Tunisia vs Australia Prediction
26th November 2022
13:00 Qatar Time/10:00 GMT
Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Tunisia vs Australia Prediction Match Overview
Results were mixed in the opening matches for each team. Tunisia did very well against Denmark, limiting the Danes and gaining a point. Indeed, they were very competitive with Aissa Laidouni, in particular, submitting a spirited, combative performance. Tunisia blocked seven shots, and such steely defending bodes well. Australia always had an arduous task coming up against World Champions France. A beautiful finish by Craig Goodwin in the ninth minute shocked the French. However, France recovered to win emphatically 4-1, with a brace from Olivier Giroud and headers from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe. Australia did, though, have some encouraging signs at the start of the match. Tunisia enter the game as the favourites, which arguably won’t suit them as they will be expected to take the game to the Australians. It should be a good encounter between the two weaker teams in the early kick-off in Group D.
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Tunisia vs Australia Prediction Analysis
Possible Changes from the First Matches
Buoyed by their excellent performance and result against European heavyweights Denmark, Tunisia should remain mostly unchanged. They should stick to their 3-4-3 formation, with Aissa Laidouni and Ellyes Skhiri enforcing in midfield. One possible change could be goalscorer and key player Wahbi Khazri coming in to replace Issam Jebali up front. Tunisia had to be more cautious against Denmark. They played for a point, but they will know (as will Australia) that this match represents their best chance of a win in this group. With France to come on the final matchday, Tunisia will know they must have four points to give themselves some insurance. They will therefore be going for it, and introducing Khazri to the starting eleven gives them more end product. Indeed, he is the highest goalscorer in their squad with 24 goals. There is also the possibility of a switch to four at the back to play more expansively. However, they will likely maintain the three they played against Denmark.
Australia have been boosted by news that playmaker and key player Ajdin Hrustic will likely be fit to start after missing the France match. His invention and creation were a significant loss for Australia. If he does start, he will hope to get at the Tunisian defence. Nathaniel Atkinson struggled a lot at right-back against Kylian Mbappe, and Fran Karacic might get this chance in this game. Mitchell Duke was also poor against France. Hence, Jamie Maclaren might get an opportunity up front. Australia know this match is a must-win with zero points currently on the board and Denmark to come.
Tunisia will look to exploit the sides with Ali Abdi and Mohamed Drager in Tunisia vs Australia. Both wing-backs looked bright against Denmark, though they also had much defending to do. Equally, Fran Karacic and Aziz Behich will look to get forward to support Mathew Leckie and Craig Goodwin for Australia. Leckie and Goodwin combined for the Australian goal against the French. Their link-up with their full-backs will prove key in catching out Dylan Bronn, Yassine Meriah, and Montassar Talbi in the Tunisian back three. Ellyes Skhiri and Aissa Laidouni in midfield for Tunisia were excellent against Denmark. They will have to cover the spaces the Tunisian wing-backs leave when they go forward so as not to allow the Australian wide players and full-backs to find gaps. The width will be critical in this match, as we expect high and low crosses to be put into the box for the forwards. Abdi and Drager must link up well with the tricky Youssef Msakni and Anis Ben Slimane to come inside onto the Australian back two of Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles. The Tunisian wide men can play little balls in behind for Wahbi Khazri’s runs or shoot themselves. The Australian wide men have the more traditional option and can look to attack the line or come to the back post when the other winger has the ball. Goodwin did this to good effect versus France.
Midfield Battle and Potential Substitutions
The contest for superiority in the middle of the pitch will be absolutely vital. As stated, Laidouni was an absolute colossus against Denmark with his pressing and work rate. He and Skhiri must protect Tunisia’s back three and cover the little spaces in which the classy Hrustic likes to work. Hrustic will sometimes come deeper to form a three with Aaron Mooy and Jackson Irvine. He must ensure Australia have more numbers in the middle. We expect this to be a spirited midfield tussle, as both teams have players who can both control the game and put in a tough tackle. Tunisia only had 40 per cent of possession against Denmark, and Australia only had 37 per cent against France. However, we expect the possession stats to be pretty even in Tunisia vs Australia. Tunisia may have slightly more of the ball as favourites. However, both teams prefer to concede possession and play on the counter-attack. Mooy is an intelligent midfielder, and he will receive the ball deep from the centre-backs and play little passes out wide and to Irvine to try to control the game. Laidouni has more physicality than Mooy, and his superior energy and strength may make things difficult for Australia. We expect that this will be a gritty game. The two weaker teams in this group must show composure on the ball.
Both teams can change things. Issam Jebali, Taha Khenissi, and Seifeddine Jaziri are possible attacking reinforcements for the Tunisians, and Hannibal Mejbri could come on to further increase the bite in midfield. For Australia, Mitchell Duke could come on for Maclaren (if he does not start). Riley McGree, Jason Cummings, or the exciting Garang Kuol could also enter the pitch.
Tunisia Key Players
Laidouni was superb in Tunisia’s opening match against Denmark. He was everywhere, putting in tackles, displaying his energy, and disrupting the Danish rhythm. He will look to do more of the same against Australia. He will be responsible for being the Tunisian engine and pressing and harrying Mooy and Irvine when Australia are in possession. He will also have to cover for his wing-backs when they go forward. Laidouni also possesses good quality on the ball. His passing to his front players will be necessary for giving the Tunisians a platform to win the game.
It was perhaps a surprise that Khazri did not start against Denmark. However, he might be named in the starting lineup in Tunisia vs Australia. His shooting and finishing are likely vital as Tunisia target three points in their most gentle game on paper. Khazri will work hard and look to get on the end of crosses from the wing-backs, and cute through balls played in behind the Australian defence. He will likely be involved in a physical battle with the Australian centre-backs, and he must be up to the challenge. If he starts, he must be decisive and score the goals that can win the game. Khazri is undoubtedly capable.
Australia Key Players
As stated, the midfield battle is likely to be critical in this game, and Mooy must get his foot on the ball and try to control the proceedings. Mooy is good at receiving the ball from the defenders and dictating the game’s tempo. However, it will be a real test for him to match the energy and physicality of Laudouni and Skhiri. He must try to face this challenge and win control of the midfield to bring his wingers and Hrustic into the game. As Australia’s midfield general, much rests on Mooy’s shoulders in this game. He must submit an excellent performance to give Australia any chance.
Hrustic missed the France game through injury but is likely to be fit for this match. Hrustic is a very classy and elegant player who offers something different to most other players in the Australian squad. Indeed, he is a talented passer of the ball, can shoot, and is good at finding space and receiving the ball in the number 10 position between the opposition defence and midfield. Tunisia will be well aware of the threat he poses. They will look to their centre-backs and midfielders to try to disrupt his game and intimidate him. Hrustic must try to get the ball wide to his wingers and also try to find crosses and little slide-rule passes into his forward if Australia are to score goals in this game. Hrustic is Australia’s primary source of creativity, and coach Graham Arnold will be praying he is indeed fit.
Tunisia vs Australia Prediction
We think Tunisia vs Australia will be a very tight game, with a premium on the number of chances created. Tunisia showed great spirit against Denmark but did not create much of their own. It is difficult to read anything into Australia’s performance in the first game, as most teams would struggle against an on-form France and Kylian Mbappe. However, the return of Hrustic will be a big game-changer for them. In theory, it should give them more creativity in their attacking third of the pitch. This might be a game of pragmatism and a real battle, particularly in midfield, where Laudouni, Skhiri, Mooy, and Irvine will fight valiantly for every loose ball. However, we think Tunisia will narrowly emerge with the win.