Montasser Louhichi’s men got their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign underway against England in La Plata. It was a game that Ian Foster’s side mostly dominated, and Tunisia had to thank goalkeeper Dries Arfaoui for keeping the score at a respectable 1-0.
Harvey Vale Captain’s and Starts for England Vs Tunisia in the U20 World Cup.
Bashir Humphreys also Starts for England Vs Tunisia.
Good luck to you guys 💙🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/Wj1APADwgc
— CFC RealistBlue (@CFC_RealistBlue) May 22, 2023
The injury-hit England side lined up in a 3-4-3 formation captained by Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah. Meanwhile, the young Carthage Eagles set up in a 4-3-3 formation led by Ghaith Ouahabi of ES Tunis.
There was a frenetic start to the game, with both teams flexing their attacking muscles. Ten minutes into the first half, Tunisia showed they could cause the English defence problems on the counter. Arfaoui collected the ball from an England corner and found Chaïm El Djebali with a wonderful throw.
The Lyon starlet, who possesses copious amounts of ability on the ball, took the opportunity to run at the England defence as they struggled to recover their shape. El Djebali carried the ball to the edge of the area and played a nicely weighted pass to Monaco’s Béchir Yacoub, who played in a lovely cross to the far post to Jibril Othman, whose volley flew over the bar as England scrambled back.
A goal from Tottenham forward Dane Scarlett, assisted by Chelsea's Harvey Vale, gave England a 1-0 win vs Tunisia in their first game at the U20 World Cup in Argentina. #U20WC pic.twitter.com/YCZ7vAOgkR
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) May 23, 2023
Tunisia was made to rue their missed opportunity 15 minutes later as Chelsea’s Harvey Vale was given far too much space on England’s left wing. His whipped cross was headed home by Tottenham wonderkid Dane Scarlett who got the better of Zinedine Sassi in the air to put England 1-0 up.
Scarlett proved to be a thorn in the side of Sassi again soon after as he rose to meet Sam Edozie’s cross, but this time Arfaoui was equal to it.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first. The English were certainly the more dominant side but struggled to make it count as the Tunisian defence remained steadfast.
Just after the hour mark, Louhichi decided to make an attacking change as he introduced Mohamed Dhaoui, who proved to be more than a handful for the defenders. Ian Foster’s side remained in control, and Alfie Devine squandered a wonderful opportunity to put them 2-0 up mid-way through the second half. Sam Edozie once again skipped past Karim El Abed, who couldn’t cope with the England winger’s silky skills. Edozie played a low cross into the box that was turned just wide by the Tottenham midfielder.
FIFA U20 World Cup: England 1-0 Tunisia, narrow win for the European champions. They dominated the match but lacked cutting edge in front of goal against a highly defensive side. Expect them to struggle against stronger sides.
Tunisia could have equalised on a couple of… https://t.co/mYBJ06BUhX
— Mohamed El Gharbawy (@Gharbawy) May 22, 2023
Later, Dhaoui came close for Tunisia with a smart free kick. Everyone expected a cross, but the youngster took a potshot that looked to catch goalkeeper Matthew Cox off guard. However, the Brentford man was alert and managed to scramble across to make a save.
As the game entered the closing stages, Tunisia became slightly desperate and resorted to long shots, none of which troubled Cox in the England goal.
Amazingly, England managed to squander two more golden opportunities as substitute Daniel Jebbison first saw his low drive well saved by Arfaoui. The Sheffield United man hit the post from the resulting corner, keeping the score 1-0.
England dominated the game, and it was only down to the brilliant individual performance of goalkeeper Dries Arfaoui that prevented it from becoming a heavy scoreline. Fortunately for Tunisia, it was only the first game, and they can redeem themselves against Iraq on Thursday.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago