Socceroos V Tunisia analysis: How Australia won FIFA World Cup game

The onslaught the Socceroos faced against a desperate Tunisia has been revealed in a FIFA report on the game.

Australia scored in the 23rd minute through Mitch Duke when the striker glanced in a header from a deflected Craig Goodwin cross.

Australia had also scored the first goal against France but held the lead for just 18 minutes.

The reigning world champions then put another three goals past keeper Mat Ryan for a 4-1 win.

But that wasn’t going to happen again.

Coach Graham Arnold said mistakes had hurt his team against France, but there wasn’t a repeat against Tunisia.

But Australia was made to work for it.

The official match summary released by FIFA shows just how much pressure Australia had to ensure.

Tunisia only managed three shots in the first half, but had 10 attempts in the second 45 minutes as they chased an equaliser.

In the final 20 minutes Tunisia had eight attempts, but the Socceroos — led by defenders Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles and captain Ryan — held firm.

Australia, on the other hand, only managed two shots in the second half – an incomplete header from Duke and a shot from outside the box from Aaron Mooy.

The defensive effort is shown in just how much work the Aussies were forced to do.

Over the whole game they forced 88 turnovers, regained possession 76 times and completed 35 tackles.

Souttar led the way, regaining possession 12 times, followed by Mooy, Ryan and Rowles with 10 each.

The FIFA report also shows how well Australia pressed and put pressure on Tunisia, with midfielder Jackson Irvine delivering 10 pressuring plays.

Arnold said the “old Aussie way” of “grit, fight and determination” was vital for the win. And the stats prove that.

Two remarkable stats from Socceroos game

Two remarkable statistics have highlighted the scale of Australia’s win against Tunisia.

Firstly, it was Australia’s first clean sheet since 1974 – when the Socceroos held Chile to a 0-0 draw at the country’s first World Cup appearance.

It was a stat that Arnold brought up twice in the post-match press conference, to highlight just what a big achievement it was.

The second key stat is just how long Australia held the lead for.

The longest Australia had led in a World Cup game was the 18 minutes it was 1-0 against France a few days earlier.

Before that Australia had only briefly led late in World Cup wins against Japan (2006) and Serbia (2010).

But against Tunisia, Australia held onto the lead for 67 minutes after Duke’s early goal.

The Socceroos face Denmark – who lost to France – in their final group game and the knockout round is in sight.

Their best World Cup performance came in 2006 when they also reached the last 16, in the days of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka.

Graham Arnold’s Australia don’t have players of that ilk but they have lots of heart and kicked off to deafening whistles in front of 42,000 at Al Janoub Stadium, where their fans were heavily outnumbered.

Each Australia touch was met with whistles from the throbbing ranks of Tunisia’s bouncing, bellowing and flag-waving supporters.

Australia had only ever won two matches at the World Cup before this and squeezed into this edition via a playoff.

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