French-born Wahbi Khazri scored the only goal as Tunisia ended France's six-game World Cup winning streak, but it was not enough to reach the last 16.
An invigorated Tunisia claimed a famous victory over a French team made up mostly of backup players but their 1-0 win over the reigning champions was not enough for the North Africans to progress to the World Cup knockout stages.
France coach Didier Deschamps, whose team were already through to the knockouts, made nine changes but they were a shadow of their usual selves and Wahbi Khazri punished them in the 58th minute at Education City Stadium.
Tunisia then had to hold on for the victory as an Antoine Griezmann goal in stoppage time was disallowed following a VAR review.
The loss saw France's six-game World Cup winning streak come to an end.
Khazri, who grew up in Corsica and plays in Ligue 1 for Montpellier, was one of six players in the Tunisian line-up who were born on French soil and he was capped by France at the under-21 level.
There is a large Tunisian community in France who will savour the result, the country's first win against an European opposition at a World Cup and just their third ever in 18 matches at the tournament.
Tunisia are going home, but they ended France’s six-game World Cup winning streak on the way.— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 30, 2022
Respect. 🇹🇳🤝 pic.twitter.com/aXjS8wnp3y
However, they needed Australia to drop points in the day’s other Group D game to stand a chance of reaching the last 16 for the first time.
The Socceroos’ 1-0 win over Denmark means it is they who go through with France. The world champions and Australia finished level on six points, but France top the section on goal difference and will await the Group C runners-up in the last 16 on Sunday.
Les Bleus had been the first team to secure a place in the next round after winning their opening two games in Qatar, so it was no surprise that Deschamps opted to make changes.
Kylian Mbappe was one of those to drop out, with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani getting his first international start up front.
There was also a start at right-back for Axel Disasi, the first outfield player to make his France debut in a World Cup match since 1966, while Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga started at left-back.
France were unrecognisable as Deschamps repeated what he had done four years ago, when he made sweeping changes for the final group game against Denmark.
The result then was a soporific 0-0 draw which did not ultimately stop France from winning the title.