Tag: Tunisia

Siesta Time

Ukraine 1-0 Tunisia / Spain 1-0 Saudi Arabia After all the excitement of last night, it was back to the dull and the ordinary this afternoon. Spain decided to field their entire reserve team against the Saudis, but still had enough about them to win, in spite of a surprisingly heroic performance by Zaid in the Saudi Arabian goal. Juanito scored the only goal, but they should have had a hatful. Al Harthi blazed a simple chance over the crossbar from eight yards out towards the end, but it would have been a scantly deserved point for the Saudis, who now haven’t won a World Cup finals match since 1994, despite having qualified for each of the last three finals. Back to the drawing board for them – and a farewell to Sami Al-Haber, who was probably playing in his last World Cup finals. I daresay we’ll see them again in four years time. All the “drama”, for the want of a better word, was at the Ukraine-Tunisia match. The first half was one of the worst forty-five minutes of football I’ve ever seen. I dozed off for about fifteen minutes of it, but woke up in time to hear Simon Brotherton say that there had been one shot on target, so I wasn’t that concerned. The sending off of Jaziri was a talking point – a second yellow...

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Sheikh, Rattle & Roll

Saudi Arabia 2-2 Tunisia Earlier this afternoon, we were treated to the upper end of world football. A team playing at the top of it’s game, full of confidence and, for the first time on recent years, self-belief. The other match in the group, between Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, was closer to the Nationwide Conference than it was to the Premiership, but it was no less entertaining for it. The thrashing dished out to Ukraine this afternoon had filled both of these teams with optimism. They were, suddenly and unexpectedly, both in with an unexpected chance of getting through the group stages. The margin of defeat that Ukraine suffered meant that, if either of these teams won, they would have an excellent chance of getting through. As it turned out, though, a draw did neither of them any favours. The first half was a lot of huff, a lot of puff, and not a lot of inspiration. The one moment of excellence came from Jaziri, who volleyed in from a corner. Otherwise, not a lot to report. At half-time, though, they must have put something in the tea. Noor missed a chance that may have been easier to score, but evened it up by levelling it. As commentator Jon Champion was describing the lavish riches that surround his life, the Saudi legend Sami Al-Jaber (who’d come on a minute...

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