Al-Wakrah [Qatar], November 26 (ANI): Australia coach Graham Arnold was ecstatic after the team's win against Tunisia and looked ready for upcoming matches as he urged his team to do even better.
"When the doubters hate us, bring it on," said an exuberant Graham Arnold.
"The other night, we played against the current world champions and the boys had the same effort level. The effort levels were incredible. I'm just hugely proud of the boys. They showed that great fighting Aussie spirit. We were in their faces all the time and I expect we made the nation very proud," he added.
When questioned about the crowd support at home during the match that was played at prime time in Australia, Arnold responded, "I could feel all my mates cheering and drinking those beers."
Australia prevailed over Tunisia 1-0 to bolster their chances of advancing into the knockout stage at the Al-Janoub Stadium in a crucial group-D encounter on Saturday.
Lagging behind by one goal, Tunisia came in with great intent in the second half, finding a corner in the 48th minute of the match but failed to capitalize on it.
Tunisia players made repeated efforts to get an equalizer but the Australian defence held their nerve to not allow their box to be breached. Even as they went all out, Tunisian players could not find the back of the net.
The 30th-ranked team brought in fresh legs as substitutes to ramp up their attack but to no avail. Australia also found counterattack opportunities as Tunisia focused on the equaliser but both teams were unable to score in the second half.
This was 38th-ranked Australia's first victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The early minutes of the first half saw both teams losing possession relatively easily as they looked to settle down in a crucial group D clash.
Australia launched the first attack from the left, but the cross from the flank was feeble to cause any threat. Following that play, Aaron Frank Mooy was fouled, giving Australia the game's first free kick, which the Tunisian defence deflected effortlessly.
Fans cheered as the stadium echoed with thunderous applause with the teams looking to maintain possession and dominate in the midfield.
The game picked pace as Tunisia made its first inroad into the Aussie box in the 21st minute but the Aussie defenders were quick to shut the attack out.
Australia found success through Duke as the winger headed the ball into the net after the ball had rebounded off a Tunisia defender, giving the team a one-goal lead in the 23rd minute.
The goal saw the Tunisian defenders come alive as they looked to keep out the Aussie attack at all costs, sometimes resorting to rough tackles but the Aussie forwards had their tails up due to the lead and looked to score again.
Mohamed Drager took a shot at the goal in the 41st minute but the charge went begging as the Aussie defence blocked the kick.
Australia were awarded a free-kick in the dying minutes of the game which also resulted in a corner but the Tunisian defence line was alert to evade it. (ANI)