World Cup

Panama v Tunisia preview

Panama and Tunisia will be looking to end their World Cup campaigns on a positive note when they meet in their final Group G clash in Saransk on Thursday (6pm GMT).

Neither side can qualify from the group after both losing to Belgium and England, who meet in Kaliningrad to decide who finishes top.

However, pride will be at stake for both nations.

Panama is competing at their first World Cup while Tunisia is winless in their last 13 World Cup matches, stretching back to 1978.

Tunisia defender Hamdi Nagguez is determined for his side to end that streak and finish with a win.

“We played two matches against better teams than us, as we were in a difficult group,” he said.

“Now, we should focus on the last match and win against Panama and stop this run of 40 years without winning a World Cup match.”

After qualifying for the first time, Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez hopes this World Cup appearance will lay the foundation for future success.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching the games at this World Cup and been very, very happy to be here.”

“It’s just such a pity that we’ve been knocked out,” he said.

“We are making history.”

“We can be an example.”

“We can leave a legacy for Panama in the future.”

“It’s pivotal to be at a World Cup.”

“It’s one of the most wonderful things that can happen in your career.”

Team News

Tunisia Dylan Bronn will miss out with a leg injury, having been carried off against Belgium on Sunday.

Third-choice goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi looks set to start in his country’s final group game after Farouk Ben Mustapha was injured in training and Mouez Hassen forced off against England.

Panama duo Michael Murillo and Armando Cooper are suspended, after picking up bookings in both of their country’s first two games.

Opta Stats

Tunisia has previously faced just one CONCACAF side at a World Cup finals, winning 3-1 against Mexico in 1978 – their first ever World Cup match.

Panama has conceded nine goals from 13 shots on target faced so far at the World Cup.

Tunisia has already conceded more goals at this World Cup (7) than they did in any of their previous four tournaments; their previous high was six conceded in 2006.

Tunisia’s only ever World Cup victory came in their only previous match against a CONCACAF nation – beating Mexico 3-1 in 1978.

Tunisia faced 12 shots on target in their 5-2 defeat to Belgium, the most they’ve ever faced in a World Cup game.

No player has been involved in more World Cup goals for Tunisia than Wahbi Khazri (2), who both scored and assisted in their 5-2 defeat against Belgium.

 

 

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