Australia beat Tunisia 1-0 at the Al Janoub Stadium on Saturday to register their first World Cup victory in 12 years as they provisionally moved up to second in Group D behind reigning champions France.
Striker Mitchell Duke scored midway through the first half with a glancing header past keeper Aymen Dahmen to give Australia the lead, while Tunisia's best chance came when skipper Youssef Msakni shot just wide.
Tunisia brought on the squad's top scorer Wahbi Khazri in the second half as they upped the tempo in search of an equaliser, but the Australian defence stood firm with goalkeeper and skipper Mat Ryan a calming presence at the back.
The victory snapped Australia's seven-match winless run at World Cups since they last picked up three points in a victory over Serbia in 2010.
The Socceroos face Denmark in their final group game and the knockout round is in sight. Their best World Cup performance came in 2006 when they also reached the last 16, in the days of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka.
Graham Arnold's Australia don't have players of that ilk but they have lots of heart and kicked off to deafening whistles in front of 42,000 at Al Janoub Stadium, where their fans were heavily outnumbered.
Tunisia had the first sniff of goal in the 19th minute but skipper Youssef Msakni was squeezed out, then defender Mohamed Drager blazed over.
In the 23rd minute Australia took the lead their possession deserved. Craig Goodwin, who scored the opener in the loss to France, crossed from the left and the ball ricocheted for Duke to glance his header back over his own shoulder and into the net.
Tunisia had impressed when they held European Championship semi-finalists Denmark to a 0-0 draw in their opener but only occasionally threatened against Australia until the Aussies sat back and defended toward the end.
Australia had also gotten off to an early 1-0 lead over France in their opener but then were outplayed. There were fewer errors this time, and some timely interventions, too – none bigger than a last-gasp sliding clearance from center back Harry Souttar to block Mohamed Drager’s dangerous shot shortly before halftime.