Published on: November 30, 2022, 12:01 p.m.
Last updated: November 30, 2022, 12:34 p.m.
France topped World Cup Group D despite losing 1-0 to Tunisia on Wednesday. Perhaps it was a gift as France already knew they would advance.
A goal by Tunisian Wahbi Khazri in the 58th minute gave the team the victory. French forward Antoine Griezmann tried to level things in the eighth minute of extra time, but an offside signal overturned the goal.
In the other Group D match, Australia beat Denmark 1–0 to finish second and take the other place in the round of 16. Both France and Australia had six points. But France, who won the last World Cup in 2018, finished the group stage with a better goal difference.
France floats into the next round
France were already well ahead of the group in qualifying for the last 16, placing them on the same top rung as Brazil and Portugal in the group stage. The team was so far ahead that coach Didier Deschamps decided to rest his best players.
On the sidelines was Kylian Mbappé, France’s undisputed star and potential World Cup star. Alongside him were Antoine Griezmann, Jules Koundé and Ousmane Dembélé, who went from being a cursed player to reclaiming his status at both Barcelona and the French national team.
Mbappé led France to wins over Australia and Denmark, scoring one goal and two respectively. He now has three goals and is looking for a fourth, the same amount he got in France’s victory at the last World Cup as a teenager.
Partly because of Mbappé’s performance so far, but also because he has shown consistency, France were the clear favorites to beat Tunisia. Tipico had France at -260 and Tunisia at +770, meaning those backing the underdogs just committed a crime.
France can now relax until Sunday when they play their round of 16 match. His opponent depends on how the rest of the action plays out. But they will face the second-placed team in Group C when that group completes its matches. If nothing changes, this will be Argentina.
Team USA begins the round of 16
The men’s national team of the Netherlands and the USA will be in charge of opening the round of 16 on Saturday. The Dutch side qualified first in Group A, doing the job behind constant pressure.
The Stars and Stripes finished second in Group B thanks to victory against Iran in their last group stage contest. However, I’m not feeling much love from the sportsbooks as BetMGM have them long at +333 compared to -120 for the Netherlands.
Christian Pulisic, who led the U.S. to victory over Iran on Tuesday, likely won’t be 100 percent healthy after taking a massive hit to the groin that ended up knocking him out of the contest. He says he will be ready for the next game but still needs to recover.
Also on Saturday, Australia, second in Group D, will face the winner of Group C. Based on the current standings, that means they will have to face Poland. Poland and Argentina battle it out today to determine the final standings, and Caesars has Argentina ahead at -225. Poland gets +700.