FT World Cup 2018: Belgium vs Tunisia, A Seven Goal Frenzy
The beauty of the World Cup is not only experienced by the victors. Due to the fact that the tournament is, in fact, a final including different countries that have qualified from their respective confederations, the fans here have been incredibly celebratory and for good reason. Belgium is a country that is enjoying international tournaments with a bit more expectation due to their golden generation of talent that comprises their squad. Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku are household names but all entering their prime years in their respective careers.
Tunisia is a country with passionate fans that have waited 12 years to see their country appear in the World Cup and have been waiting 40 years for a victory in a World Cup match. How fitting that the last match we had tickets to see live, was a neutral fan’s dream match. After watching a slightly more conservative approach from Cristiano and Portugal, it was thrilling to see how Roberto Martinez sent out a Belgium side to attack Tunisia relentlessly in search of victory. It was equally thrilling to see Tunisia try to match Belgium’s footballing prowess with their own brand of attacking football. Rather than sit back and soak up pressure looking to counterattack, Tunisia tried to keep possession and build attacks from their defense. Unfortunately for Tunisia, an early Hazard penalty kick quickly followed up by a Lukaku goal meant that they would have to become even more adventurous against an incredibly potent Belgium side that was poised to seize the extra space Tunisia would leave exposed when attacking. While Tunisia certainly could be applauded for their brave tactics. Belgium maximized their physical advantage over Tunisia and was running rampant as the first half came to a close.
Spartak Stadium was the venue for this match and its intimate seating helped to create a cacophonous atmosphere for both Belgian and Tunisian fans. The second half was a bit more of the same, Belgium attacks followed by Tunisia attacks, and as the game drew to a close, Tunisia was able to score a second goal through Wahbi Khazri. To hear the Tunisian fans celebrate that second goal even though the game was 5-2 and drawing to a close, represented all the pride and joy felt by Tunisians to have earned the opportunity to compete at the World Cup. It was incredible to be a part of and witness.