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WORLD CUP: Senegal seeks to push Africa’s hopes of qualifying a team to semis

PHOTO: @CAF_Online

🌟 #FIFAWorldCup 2022

✳ TODAY
⚽ France vs Poland 6pm
⚽ England vs Senegal 10pm (UBC TV)

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Senegal National team will today night take on England in the round of 16 at the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022.

After making it through the group stage, the African reigning champions Senegal will be all out to prove yet another points at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar.

It will be another battle for the Teranga Lions to keep Africa’s hopes of having a team in the World Cup semi-finals alive, as no African nation has ever moved past the quarter final stage of the World Cup.

The best that African representatives have done in the previous editions of the tournament is qualifying for the quarter-finals in 1990, 2002, and 2010 respectively but failed to break the jinx.

Africa’s hope to have a team in the semifinal lies in the hands of the Senegal and Morocco teams since they are the only surviving teams after the elimination of Ghana, Cameroon, and Tunisia before the knockout stages.

Senegal, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations champions, finished second in Group A – behind the Netherlands, to make it to the last 16 of the prestigious global competition.

After losing to the Netherlands in their first match, they mounted an incredible comeback to finish second with six points. They defeated Ecuador and Qatar in the last two group games.

They take on England who topped Group B with seven points after defeating Wales and Iran and also drawing with the United States of America-USA.

However, the Lions of Teranga will enter the tough fixture without their midfielder Idris Gan Gueye who is suspended for the match at Al Bayt after receiving a second yellow card against Ecuador in their final group match.

The Senegalese also enter the fixture with worries about their Head Coach Aliou Cisse, who may not be able to command his team owing to illness. Cisse has led Senegal since 2015, leading the Lions of Teranga to multiple firsts, including their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph this year.

“He (Cisse) has been sick for a couple of days now and he let us take charge of training yesterday obviously with his instructions. We’ve identified some things and the most important thing is set pieces can be decisive in these top matches. We also hope to take advantage of set pieces,” assistant coach Regis Bogaert told the media.

According to available data, England has never lost in seven prior World Cup matches against African opponents, winning four and drawing three. As a result, if Senegal defeats England, it will be the first to do so.

But England Head coach Gareth Southgatesays that while they have a rich history against teams from Africa, they have respect for Senegal.

“We have been very impressed with Senegal. They are African champions and are very proud and have great spirit and belief in their team. They have some excellent individual players who can cause problems, but a good structure as well,” said Southgate.

On Saturday the Netherlands defeated USA 3-1, while Argentina saw off Australia 2-1 to qualify for the quarter final stage.


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