The road to any World Cup Finals is long and winding. Fraught with stern challenges and potential upsets, nations sometimes need a little slice of luck to ensure they are one of the lucky 32.
Recently-unearthed footage shows how Tunisia reached the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals in Qatar, and its fair to say they got there with a hint of good fortune.`
The North African nation had to go through two rounds of CAF qualifying to get there, firstly managing to top Group B (above Zambia), before overcoming Mali in an 'all or nothing' playoff.
With the winner being assured of a place at the World Cup, the pressure was very much on - and it seemed to get the better of some Mali defenders.
In the end, only one goal was scored across the two legs, which you can watch below. Moussa Sissako, look away now:
This is how Tunsia qualified for the World Cup ICYMI 😭😭😭 (if finished 1-0) pic.twitter.com/JjPXcNV1UY— SJ (@316simsim) November 26, 2022
The own goal scored by the Sochi defender in the first leg proved to be enough for Tunisia, who earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw in the return match.
It was a dreadful tie all round for Sissako, who went on to receive a red card in the second half for a desperate last-ditch foul.
While the goal and red card heartbreakingly prevented Mali from playing at their first ever World Cup, some Twitter users couldn't help but see the funny side after footage of the own goal was shared on social media.
One user wrote: "the goalkeeper could have done better", while another simply added, "no way!".
However, alongside the humorous nature of the own goal, the clip also restarted the conversation around how African teams qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
Unlike in Europe and South America, Group winners don't automatically qualify, as they still have to go through an arduous Playoff match over two legs. This format saw Nigeria, Mali and Egypt all fail to qualify at the final hurdle, despite doing so well in the previous round.
A disgruntled football fan on Twitter added: "I absolutely despise the current format for African teams".
A second user replied: "The old one was better but the problem is the seeding more than anything.
"In hindsight you remove the 2-legged playoffs but then you get a group with say Egypt/Algeria/Mali all inside."
As for Tunisia, they got off to an impressive start in Qatar, earning a more than creditable draw with Denmark on Match-day one. However, a 1-0 defeat to Australia over the weekend leaves Hannibal Mejbri and his teammates on the verge of elimination - with just France left to play.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Domynych
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