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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Bouazizi out to shock favourites Spain

Tunisia captain Riadh Bouazizi believes his team can make amends after their disappointing start to their World Cup by beating mighty Spain today.

The north Africans needed a late equaliser to clinch a point in their 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia five days ago and must now take a win in Stuttgart to have a realistic chance of advancing to the knock-out round.

'We played a terrible game against Saudi Arabia,' admitted 33-year-old Bouazizi. 'Against Spain we must recover our level of football.

'We will go out with the intention of getting three points or in the worst case scenario, try to avoid defeat.'

The midfielder, who plays for Erciyesspor in Turkey, believes Group H leaders Spain, who thrashed Ukraine 4-0 in their first game, will make life difficult for the 2004 African champions.

'Spain have a lot of quality and we must change our tactical system in order to give our best and surprise them,' said Bouazizi. 'We simply must play our top game against Spain.'

Tunisia have qualified for each of the last two World Cups before this one - and this is their fourth appearance - but have yet to make it through to the second round of the competition.

Bouazizi believes this could be their year.

'It is not as if we have the pressure to go through to the knock-out stage,' he said. 'But we must try to take advantage of this opportunity.

'I really don't think Spain will be able to keep the level of football that they showed against Ukraine. Every game is different.'

It will be all the more challenging for the north African team considering they will be without Brazilian native striker Francileudo Dos Santos.

Dos Santos, who scored six goals in seven World Cup qualifiers, sustained a muscle injury before the tournament but could return to play in their last group game against Ukraine.

'He is a great player,' said Bouazizi. 'In my opinion, he is our best player. We really need him and if he played we certainly would have more chances of success.'