Khazri ends Tunisia's long wait for finals win

Felipe Baloy celebrates with team-mates after scoring Panama's first World Cup goal against England

Tunisia secured their first World Cup finals win in 40 years with a 2-1 victory over debutantes Panama on Thursday, but coach Nabil Maaloul said Arab nations still had a long way to go before they could seriously challenge the top sides.

Khazri crossed for Fakhreddine Ben Youssef's equalizer early in the second half and netted the decisive strike himself in the 66th minute.

The two teams will now head home from Russian Federation, with Tunisia picking up their first World Cup win in 40 years while Panama were unable to register a point in their first appearance at the competition.

Tunisia then took the lead through Wahbi Khazri as he tapped in from close range leaving Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo stranded.

Making their fifth World Cup appearance, "the Eagles of Carthage" were drawn with European powerhouses Belgium and England, as well as debutants Panama, in Group G.

Wahbi Khazri made it 2-1 for Tunisia in the 65th minute with a finish at the back post against the run of play for his second goal of the World Cup campaign.

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Playing out the dead rubber in Saransk, it was a slick passing move that concluded with Khazri, the Sunderland forward, sliding a ideal pass across the face of goal for Ben Youssef to lift into the net from close range.

Still, they pushed hard for an equaliser and caused anxious moments for Tunisia as the clock ticked away but lacked the killer instinct.

Both teams have already been eliminated, with Belgium and England qualifying from the group.

"Perhaps in the second match, we should have been better". But the Al-Shabab stopper picked up a problem during that game and will not be available against Panama, leaving Tunisia with only their third-choice, Aymen Mathlouthi, standing for Thursday's game.

"We were much more level in this match than in others", he said. "It is true that we conceded many goals but we conceded goals when we were met with very tough opponents".

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