Tunisians enjoy historic but bittersweet win over France

December 1, 2022 12:28 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Tunisians celebrated a historic but bittersweet World Cup victory over France as they defeated their former colonial power but still crashed out of a tournament marked by a remarkable string of Arab wins over soccer powerhouses.

Car horns sounded in Tunis after the final whistle in Tunisia’s 1-0 win as fans savoured the moment even though their side did not make it through to the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup, the first in an Arab country.

The Saudis fell short on Wednesday, losing 2-1 to Mexico, and host Qatar are already out, leaving one Arab team with a chance of reaching the last 16 when Morocco – who stunned second-ranked Belgium – take on Canada .

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Already the surprise Arab victories in the opening stages have been applauded across the Arab region despite its deep political divisions.

“The victory over France was wonderful and had a special taste… Arab football regained its dignity from the former colonialists countries,” said Narredine ben Salem, sitting in the Tunis cafe where he watched the match.

As the game ended, dozens of people ran into the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, often the site of political protests, waving flags and cheering.

It was the third upset by an Arab country against heavily fancied opponents, but like Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina last week it was not enough to secure a place in the next round.