Mitchell Duke’s fine header in the first half was enough to get them past a stodgy Tunisia, as the African nation were spurred on by their huge number of fans in the stadium but they couldn’t find a way past Matt Ryan in Australia’s goal.
After qualifying for this tournament via the intercontinental playoff, Australia have been written off and Graham Arnold had a lot of criticism for the way the Socceroos played. Nobody cares now. His team put in a heroic shift and played to their strengths and sucked the energy out of Tunisia in the first half. This win gives them huge belief they can get the victory against Denmark they need in their final group stage game to have a chance of making the last 16. There is real grit and spirit about this Aussie side and right now you’d say they are the favorites to get past Denmark, even though the Danes have a better team on paper. Defensively they were exceptional and didn’t put a foot wrong and if they can replicate this display against Denmark, they have a huge chance of creating history.
Stars of the show
Harry Souttar: Superb from the giant center back. Key block in the first half and cleared everything which came into the box. At the heart of an incredible defensive display.
Aaron Mooy: What an engine this guy has. Rolled back the years to keep the ball and take the pressure off when Australia needed him and he rattled into challenges.
Mitchell Duke: Great header for the winner, held the ball up so well and gave his side a focal point.
How to watch Tunisia vs Australia live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 5am ET, Saturday (November 26) Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah TV channels en Español: Telemundo Streaming en Español:Peacock (all 64 matches)
Mitchell Duke heads it in to give #AUS an early 1-0 lead over Tunisia!
Tunisia found it tough sledding to create scoring chances against Denmark, as they came out in a very conservative 3-4-2-1 formation. Midfielder Aissa Laidouni starred in central midfield, though the bulk of his contributions were of the hard-nosed, ball-winning variety. Tunisia will likely find themselves with more possession and the opportunity to take the game to Australia on Saturday, as opposed to playing more of the game against Denmark inside their own half.
Australia were a goal ahead and comfortably the better side after the opening 15 or 20 minutes of their clash with France, before the defending world champions settled in and began to play through Australia’s midfield and defense with ease. Possession was the best form of defense for Les Bleus, who allowed just four shots in total from Australia. To that point, Craig Goodwin’s 9th-minute goal was the Socceroos’ lone shot on target.
Tunisia quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 30
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified via CAF playoffs (Beat Mali)
Coach: Jalel Kadri
Key players: Ferjani Sassi, Wahbi Khazri, Youssef Msakni
Australia quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 38
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from AFC via the intercontinental playoffs
Coach: Graham Arnold
Key players: Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie
10 of those 17 U.S. cities will succeed and Houston, the fourth largest city in the USA, believes it has plenty of advantages over its rivals.
USMNT legend DaMarcus Beasley is on the board of directors for Houston’s 2026 bid and he told ProSoccerTalk that Houston is the ‘perfect’ place to host World Cup games.
“The city is vibrant, it is diverse and the culture, well, it bleeds football,” Beasley said. “If you look at any of the international matches that have been played here they are always a sell out, the crowd is electric… The hospitality of everyone here is incredible.
“As I said, the vibrancy of the stadium, that culture, we bleed football here in Houston. Anybody who comes here will see that and everyone will walk away from World Cup matches in Houston thinking ‘this was the best atmosphere I’ve ever been in.'”
From a stadium with a roof to keep out the summer storms, plus having facilities close together downtown and a long history of hosting the biggest events in the sporting world, the biggest city in Texas is going all-in on hosting 2026 World Cup games.
Ahead of the official site visit from FIFA to Houston in late October, ProSoccerTalk spoke to Chris Canetti, the president of Houston’s 2026 World Cup bid.
What gives Houston an edge?
Canetti is one of the leading soccer executives in the country and was president of the Houston Dynamo from 2010 to 2019, before taking this unique role to lead Houston’s World Cup bid.
That means that Canetti wakes up every single day with one goal: to bring 2026 World Cup games to Houston.
Asked about what gives Houston the edge over other U.S. cities to host games, Canetti highlighted its international feel and innovative heart as being integral to the ‘Spirit of Houston’ they want to showcase to the world.
“Houston is the fourth-largest city in the USA and the largest in Texas, so we are a big city of 7 million people and also considered to be the most diverse city in all of North America,” Canetti explained. “That is something very important when you’re bringing the world’s game into a city. You want to have an internationally diverse culture that exists, and that is something very strong here in Houston.”
“As a result of being an international and diverse city, it is a football loving city,” Canetti continued. “The passion for the game is incredible and so is the passion to bring a World Cup here. I feel like I have the full weight of community behind me in this effort…
We are thrilled to announce the #SpiritofHouston campaign to celebrate our city’s united, community-driven and innovative approach to hosting the #WorldCup!
“With our bid, everything is in our city. Everything takes place in Houston. From the airports, to the stadium, to the hotels, to the training sites. It is all under one jurisdiction and there is a united front and everyone is working in sync. We’ve got the key officials all behind this. Everybody is aligned.
“And if you look at history, over the last decade or slightly longer, any time promoters are bringing major football events to this country, Houston has been a designated stop. It is because this city rises to the occasion.”
From NASA and the huge energy companies that call Houston home, innovation is at its core and that’s also true with this 2026 World Cup bid.
As Canetti said, Houston is no stranger to these big games, as it has hosted more major sporting events than any other U.S. city since 2004.
Be it Super Bowl’s, NCAA Final Four’s, All Star Game’s, Gold Cup’s and Copa America Centenario games, Houston has been there, done it and got the t-shirt.
But the jewel in Houston’s crown for this bid is NRG Stadium.
It sits at the heart of NRG Park, a campus which has training facilities, a convention center and an indoor arena all connected, and there are also five separate training facilities for teams within 15 minutes of the stadium, which act perfectly as a base.
As for the stadium itself, NRG has a 70,000 capacity and a fully retractable roof.
Why is that fact about the roof so important?
Well, that gives Houston a huge advantage over its competitors as it can guarantee games will take place regardless of summer storms which are commonplace across the USA in June and July when World Cup games will take place.
Of the 17 host venues in the running in the USA, Houston is one of just three (Atlanta and Dallas the others) to have a retractable roof.
Having games in Houston will give FIFA certainty that no issues will arise when it comes to planning and logistics. Don’t underestimate that.
“I think the retractable roof is a unique feature and brings huge value to the event,” Canetti said. “190 million people worldwide watch these games on average. To be able to protect the integrity of that broadcast window and stay on time via a retractable roof, I think that is very valuable in this country with the climate being the way it is… It is fantastic to have climate controlled protection and only a small number of us that have that and it provides value.”
Beasley also pointed to the huge Hispanic population in Houston and hoped that the USMNT could face Mexico, in Houston, during the World Cup. Think about how incredible that would be?
What will the legacy be?
Every single World Cup city wants the tournament to leave behind a legacy.
Houston is no different and Canetti believes the impact this World Cup will have is going to be off the charts, across the USA, Canada and Mexico.
“If you look at how much the game has grown in this country from 1994 to 2026, it is massive,” Canetti continued. “Now there’s more attention to it. More acceptance to it. More connection and involvement. What the impact will be, well, it almost seems immeasurable at this point. It is going to be so grand.”
It is estimated that Houston will benefit economically by over $1 billion from hosting World Cup games, but Canetti is also focused on how local youngsters will benefit, long-term, from seeing the best national teams in the world heading to Texas.
The host bid have set up the Houston Soccer Innovation Institute, which is already helping youngsters in underserved communities get access to the Houston Dynamo in MLS and the Houston Dash in the NWSL, among other initiatives.
“Legacy has been at the forefront of everything we’ve been doing since day one,” Canetti said. “We’ve launched the Houston Soccer Innovation Institute and it is a truly one of a kind program which our host committee will manage. This institute will handle the legacy portion of this bid. Our legacy is based around growing the game, fan experience and social and environmental responsibility. And we will focus on how all of those things can make the community better.
“Houston is an innovative place. We have NASA here, we have the largest medical center in the world here and we are the energy capital of the world. We are using these innovative pieces of our community and resources to help the growth and impact of the game.”
What does that mean?
Well, if FIFA wants help in how to reduce head injuries in the game, create more energy efficient stadiums, help with ideas on how to improved human rights globally and wants anything from NASA, this institute will get leaders from across Houston together in one place to come up with answers.
Where does Houston rank among potential host cities?
Houston wants to host knockout games as well as group stage games, and they know they can host clashes up to the quarterfinal stage with the size of their stadium.
How does Canetti rank their chances of being successful in bringing the World Cup to Texas’ biggest city?
“That is the magical question,” Canetti said. “I know rationally and in my heart that Houston is among the top 10. Does that mean we are guaranteed a spot? No. I don’t approach it that way whatsoever. I know there are lots of things that go into this. Lots of moving parts.”
With the likes of New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington D.C. all expected as locks to be six of the 10 host cities in the USA for the 2026 World Cup, it looks like Houston is in a straight battle with the likes of Denver, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando and Kansas City to host games.
Canetti is up for the battle to bring the world’s game to Houston.
“It is hard for me to predict where we stand. Lots of people like to ask me ‘who is your competition?’ but it is hard to state that. We know we have a strong package and the experience of what it takes to do this but we aren’t going to take anything for granted. We’ve been working hard since day one to create points of differentiation from the competition and we are going to fight for this and put everything we have behind it.”
“We’re extremely pleased to formally welcome Xherdan Shaqiri to the Fire,” Heitz said. “Xherdan is a game-changing player and someone who will bring joy to our supporters and the city of Chicago. As one of the most accomplished Swiss athletes of his generation, Xherdan joins us at a very important time for the club and fully believes in what we are aiming to accomplish. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Chicago very soon.”
The Fire have placed Ezra Hendrickson in charge for the 2022 season and with their move to Soldier Field last season and their rebrand, they are trying to reinvent themselves.
Shaqiri’s signing will be a huge part of that and could see other stars arrive from Europe.
How much of an impact could Shaqiri have?
There is no doubting that if he stays fit, Shaqiri has the quality to be an instant star in MLS. We are talking about a Robbie Keane, Sebastian Giovinco and Carlos Vela type impact.
Shaqiri has been unlucky with injuries in recent seasons and sat behind Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool as they ripped it up and he played a bit-part in them winning the UEFA Champions League and Premier League titles.
The former Basel, Bayern Munich, Stoke City and Liverpool winger has incredible experience and is a driving force for Switzerland as they will play at the 2022 World Cup and Shaqiri will hope his swansong includes an appearance with them in the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
In the short-term, this is a great signing for the Chicago Fire and Shaqiri is the type of character who will embrace the challenge of being a talisman.
Before the Premier League’s incredibly busy period of festive fixtures kicks off on Boxing Day (Saturday), there’s a small matter of the League Cup quarterfinals to tend to on Tuesday and Wednesday, as six PL sides and two EFL Championship clubs battle for a place in next month’s semifinals.
On one hand, the likes of Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City — all of whom fancy a finish in the Premier League’s top-four this season — will find themselves fighting for fitness ahead of the weekend’s league fixtures; however, on the other hand, they also find themselves 270 minutes (perhaps a few more) from winning the 2020-21 season’s first major trophy.
For a club like Tottenham, who haven’t lifted a piece of silverware since the 2007-08 League Cup, a trip to the quarterfinals of any competition shouldn’t be taken lightly. Jose Mourinho’s men will travel to the northwest of England to battle Championship side Stoke City on a wet and windy Wednesday night at the bet365 Stadium.
Elsewhere, there are two contenders up for consideration in the category of most intriguing matchup of the quarterfinals: a current top-four battle with Everton hosting Manchester United, and a once-upon-a-time top-four battle with Arsenal hosting Manchester City. Unlike the other three of those clubs, Arsenal are already long out of consideration for the Premier League title and could perhaps turn their attention toward the cup competitions — they’ve done mighty well in them over the last decade, despite their continued fall from grace in the PL — as Mikel Arteta looks to save his job.
The final quarterfinal matchup is perhaps the upset special of the round, as 4th-place Championship side Brentford welcomes struggling (for health and results) Newcastle to west London. The Bees have already knocked off a trio of PL sides en route to the quarterfinals, going through Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham in consecutive rounds.
Three sides picked up big wins on day with lots of draws, as Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City rode comfortable wins to within a point of sixth-place Preston North End.
Derby County beat Millwall to join the Lions on 54 points, three points back of the top six.
Charlton Athletic spent the entire coronavirus pause in the bottom three and promptly exited by sending Hull City into the bottom three with a 1-0 win at the KC Stadium.
Last-place Barnsley moved into 23rd after beating QPR while Luton Town is now last but within five points of safety after a draw with sixth-place PNE.
There are now only three points separating 17th place Wigan from 22nd place Hull City in the final relegation place.
Fulham’s Tim Ream went 90 minutes with four clearances, two tackles, and 90 percent passing at left center back in a 2-0 loss to Brentford.
Antonee Robinson was back in the lineup and went 86 minutes as the Latics moved four points clear of the drop zone with a big 6-pointer win over Huddersfield Town. He won 5-of-8 duels, made five clearances, two interceptions, three tackles, and a blocked shot.
Duane Holmes left Derby County’s 3-2 win after 62 minutes at right wing. He registered one key pass amongst his 82 percent completion percentage.
Spurs loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers was the top-rated player on both SofaScore and WhoScored as Luton Town drew Preston. CCV was credited with a monstrous 13 clearances, three tackles, a blocked shot, an interception, and 10 of 13 duels won. He also passed at 76 percent, completing 3-of-8. long balls, and even completed a dribble.
Chelsea loanee Matt Miazga missed Reading’s draw with Stoke City thanks to a minor hamstring injury (Berkshire Live).
Fulham 0-2 Brentford
Middlesbrough 0-3 Swansea City
Millwall 2-3 Derby County
West Brom 0-0 Birmingham City
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Wigan Athletic
Hull City 0-1 Charlton Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Luton Town 1-1 Preston North End
QPR 0-1 Barnsley
Reading 1-1 Stoke City
Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Bristol City
Cardiff City v. Leeds United — 7 a.m. ET Sunday