Spain passes Tunisia test to win 3-1 in Group H
Monday, June 19, 2006
If Spain wanted a bucket of ice water reality check after their 4-0 crushing of Ukraine they got one for 70 minutes in the rain against Tunisia, Monday.
After just eight minutes before which Spain had appeared to have left off from their form that destroyed Ukraine Zied Jaizi attacked into the Spanish box. His strong run ended with the ball prodded to Jaouhar Mnari. The Tunisian number 12's shot was saved by Iker Casillas but he passed the rebound into the turf and over the keeper.
Spain were behind. And then it started to rain hard.
For 70 minutes Spain attacked and failed to beat the Tunisian keeper Ali Boumnijel. While he made seven saves the wet conditions made holding the football hard and Boumnijel faced a lot of shots.
In the first period crosses and corner kicks met heads in the Tunisian box but none of the succession of different foreheads found the target. On 43 minutes Xabi Alonso went closest: his header from a corner was cleared off the line by Anis Ayari.
As the clock ticked it seemed Spain's short passing game was the longest route to goal.
In the end Luis Aragones's three substitutions can be said to have unlocked the Tunisian defence. On 71 minutes the floodgates opened like the storm clouds had in the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion.
Joaquin ran down the right and passed to Cesc Fabregas at the top of the area. Fabregas's first time shot was not particularly powerful but Boumnijel gave up a rebound and in followed Raul. 1-1.
For his second assist Fabregas then played in Fernando Torres who rounded the keeper for the game winner.
On 90 minutes Raul chipped to the far post for Torres who then appeared to be tugged to the floor. The young Athletico Madrid striker scored low under the keeper from the spot.
Torres, who with three goals in two matches became the top scorer at the Fifa World Cup, could have had two more goals in the final minutes from surges through the Tunisian defence. In the first instance the keeper saved well and in the second Torres blasted over.
The goals though they came late created a scoreline that reflected Spainish dominance of the game. They outshot their opponents by 20 and had 11 more corner kicks. Tunisian players accrued six yellow cards in their attempt to hold back Aragones's side who also hogged 66 per cent of possession.
The result meant Spain were through to the round of sixteen of the Fifa World Cup and that Tunisia had to beat Ukraine in their third and final match of Group H if they wanted to join them there.
|June 19, 2006|
|Tunisia||1–3||Spain||Gottlieb Daimler Stadion|
|Mnari 8'||Raúl 71' |
Torres 76', 90' pen
- 01 A Boumnijel
- 03 K Haggui
- 15 R Jaidi 70'
- 19 A Ayari 32' (Substituted: 56' A Yahia)
- 06 H Trabelsi 40'
- 12 J Mnari 93+'
- 13 R Bouazizi (Substituted: 56' K Ghodhbane)
- 14 A Chedli (Substituted: 79' H Guemamdia 81' )
- 20 H Namouchi
- 08 M Nafti
- 05 Z Jaziri 85'
Fifa World Cup Group H table June 19, 2006
- "Tunisia 1-3 Spain" — , June 19, 2006
- "Fifa match report" — , June 19, 2006
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