Nabil Maaloul was proud of the performance of his Tunisia squad, despite losing their first game of the World Cup 2-1 to England after a stoppage-time winner from Harry Kane
The Carthage Eagles were on the verge of sealing an unexpected draw after Ferjani Sassi cancelled out Kane’s opening goal through a penalty in the 35th minute of the game.
Tunisia held on for the remaining 55 minutes of regular time before Kane then scored an extra-time winner to seal England the three points at the Volgograd Arena.
However, Maaloul remained pleased by what he saw from his players.
“The Tunisian side has performed very well and we were able to defend for 90 minutes,” said the 55-year-old, as stated on AlbaWaba.
“It’s true they controlled the match towards the end, they have excellent, speedy players. Alli, Lingard and Sterling when they come to the attack – let’s not forget Kane – they are excellent players and they were able to break through our defences.
“The fact Hassen our goalkeeper was also replaced has hurt us a little bit in a match playing at such a high level. If we have three such changes it disturbs the players but I want to thank all my players for their defensive players, they lived up to expectations and we were much stronger in the second half.
“They were highly disciplined in terms of our tactics and very strong up to 90 minutes before we conceded the second goal. There was a lot of discipline.”
Maaloul felt that Tunisia were hampered by two injuries in their defeat to England and lamented the fact that they were unable to hold on for the draw.
“It’s true we did not create a lot of opportunities but we will learn in the future,” he continued.
“We were up against a highly skilled and coordinated team in terms of their forward players. Don’t forget we had two injuries and Ali Maaloul we should not have given him the time we gave him.
“We thought we would give him 60 minutes but he played throughout. We were able to play head-to-head and a draw would have been an excellent result for us. We hope we can show more concentration in the upcoming games.”
Tunisia will next face Belgium on Saturday at the Otkritie Arena, Moscow.