France advanced in first place in Group D at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite a shock 1-0 defeat to Tunisia in the third round of matches on Wednesday that meant Les Blues only edged second place Australia thanks to their goal differential advantage.
Despite the loss, though, Liverpool centre half Ibrahima Konaté had a standout game, setting a new record for most tackles by a defender in a World Cup match—a record that perhaps speaks to just how much pressure Tunisia put France under in the match.
In addition to being the most tackles in a World Cup match by a defender, Konaté’s eleven tackles is the most by any player in a World Cup match since defensive midfielder Gennaro Gattuso’s performance for Italy when they won the 2006 final over France on penalties.
Despite the standout performance personally in a match that saw many French players recieving criticism, Konaté’s main focus afterwards was on the result and the need for the team to bounce back for their Round of 16 game against Poland on Sunday.
“I hate losing,” Konaté said. “There won’t be any favours this weekend. Today we weren’t at the level required, we were too wasteful. We need to concentrate on the next game, come together and forget this little error, because it’s going to be a difficult match.”
Their opponents Poland also relied on goal difference, but in their case to finish second in Group C where they were level on points with Mexico. Meanwhile, Group C winners Argentina are now set to take on Group D runners-up Australia on Saturday.