World Cup: Panama 1 Tunisia 2 - 5 things you need to know

Tunisia's midfielder Ghailene Chaalali (left) vies with Panama's midfielder Ricardo Avila during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Panama and Tunisia at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on June 28, 2018.
Tunisia's midfielder Ghailene Chaalali (left) vies with Panama's midfielder Ricardo Avila during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Panama and Tunisia at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on June 28, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Tunisia picked up their first World Cup win in 40 years on Thursday (June 28) by beating Panama 2-1 in their final Group G match.

Panama struck first via a Yassine Meriah own goal in the 33rd minute but the North Africans stamped their superior quality onto the game in the second half with fine team goals from Fakhereedine Ben Youssef and Wahbi Khazri.

For the Panamanians, their debut World Cup campaign concludes without a point to show for but they will be pleased with the heart they showed in their three games.

Here's the lowdown for the game:

1. THE GOALS

Panama 1 (Meriah (og) 33rd) Tunisia 2 (Ben Youssef 51st, Khazri 66th)

2. THE WOW MOMENT

Tunisia's equaliser reflected the gulf in quality between the two sides. A superb flowing move carved the Panamanian defence open with Wahbi Khazri receiving the ball on the right side of the penalty box. The Sunderland man proceeded to slide in a perfect lay-off for Ben Youssef who needed no further invitation to sweep the ball home.

3. THE TALKING POINT

It has to be a problem for the World Cup if a meaningless affair between two eliminated sides turns out more entertaining than the two earlier Group H games featuring three sides playing to stay in the tournament. The rationale for the fairplay tie-breaker is a valid one - it is still better than drawing lots as tie-breakers go - but its unintended repercussions should also not be ignored.

4. THE STAR

The World Cup! After the farcical ending to the Japan-Poland game, this was the feel-good match that the tournament needed. Panama's goal meant that for the first time in World Cup history every one of the participating teams has scored more than once.

Ben Youssef's goal was also a World Cup milestone - it was the 2500th goal in the World Cup Finals.

5. WHAT THE RESULT MEANS

Absolutely nothing for the tournament which will now continue without them. Panama and Tunisia were eliminated before the kick-off and that hasn't changed.