Arab watch: How Tunisia and Saudi Arabia fared in their World Cup warm-up matches

David Cooper - Writer 12:07 29/05/2018
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Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia will represent the Arab nations at the World Cup this summer.

With less than three weeks to go until football’s greatest showpiece gets underway, the Arab nations will be stepping up their preparations with warm-up games before departing for Russia.

With Tunisia and Saudi in action in Monday’s friendlies, we take a look at how the respective nations fared.

PORTUGAL 2-2 TUNISIA

Tunisia pulled off a sensational comeback in their World Cup warm-up with a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal in Braga.

It looked like the European champions were edging towards a facile victory having gone 2-0 up within 35 minutes, but a goal before half-time from Anice Badri kept the visitors within touching distance.

With 25 minutes remaining, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef capitalised on a loose ball to complete Tunisia’s fightback against Fernando Santos’ side.

The Eagles start their World Cup campaign against England on June 18, before going on to play Belgium and Panama.

ITALY 2-1 SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against Italy in St. Gallen, Switzerland in their opening warm-up match.

The Green Falcons struggled for large spells of the first half, with Nice striker Mario Balotelli scoring in his first international appearance in nearly four years on 21 minutes.

Torino star Andrea Belotti converted Italy’s second after the break before Al-Nassr hitman Yahya Al-Shehri pulled back a consolation goal for the Arab side.

Saudi will take on hosts Russia in their World Cup opener on June 14, before going on to play Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.

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