Senegal scored two goals in all but one of their qualifying matches, which helped them top their group.
Senegal World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
Senegal are back at the World Cup for a second time, after becoming only the second African country to reach the quarter-finals when Japan and South Korea co-hosted in 2002. Drawing his side from a large number of players with clubs in Europe, coach Aliou Cisse – who was captain of the 2002 team – has put together a formidable squad.
Related: 10 Biggest World Cup Shocks
Key Moments in Qualifying
Two goals down after an hour of the first leg of their preliminary round tie in Madagascar, Senegal are flirting with shock elimination until they come back to draw the game and then win 5-2 on aggregate.
A 2-1 loss in South Africa sees Senegal submit a protest to FIFA over the officiating as Ghanaian ref Joseph Lamptey awards the hosts a dubious penalty.
Lamptey is found to have manipulated the South Africa result and is banned for life.
After home and away draws against Burkina Faso, FIFA order the disputed South Africa game from November 2016 to be replayed.
Back in South Africa, Sadio Mane is the talisman as Senegal win the replayed match 2-0 and secure qualification with a game to spare.
Senegal World Cup Group
Senegal are in Group H alongside Poland, Colombia and Japan.
Senegal World Cup Friendlies
On the 23rd and 27th of March Senegal drew with Uzbekistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. They then play Luxembourg on the 31st of May. Croatia and then South Korea follow on the 8th and 11th of June respectively.
- 23rd March – Uzbekistan (drew 1-1)
- 27th March – Bosnia-Herzegovina (drew 0-0)
- 31st May – Luxembourg
- 8th June – Croatia
- 11th june – South Korea
Senegal World Cup Fixtures
Aliou Cisse, age 41 (24.03.76)
Took over from Alain Giresse as coach in March 2015, having been captain of the team for Senegal’s previous World Cup appearance. After finishing his playing career, he went home to work with the Senegal Football Federation and was on the staff of the under-23 side that participated at the men’s football tournament at the London Olympics.
Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly are among the best African players in Europe and are crucial to the Senegal cause. Koulibaly controls the defence line while Mane lifts the side to a higher level in attack.
Idrissa Gueye and Cheikhou Kouyate are midfielders who provide the back bone of the team.
Mame Biriam Diouf lost his place through injury in the middle of the year and has not been recalled since.
Former French under-21 international Mbaye Niang has now won three caps for Senegal.
Senegal World Cup Squad
Final World Cup Squad –
GOALKEEPERS: Khadim Ndiaye (Horoya AC), Abdoulaye Diallo (Rennes), Alfred Gomis (Torino)
DEFENDERS: Kara Mbodji (Anderlecht), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Moussa Wague (Eupen), Saliou Ciss (Angers), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux), Lamine Gassama (Alanyaspor), Armand Traore (Nottingham Forest), Salif Sane (Hannover 96)
FORWARDS: Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Diao Balde Keita (Monaco), Ismaila Sarr (Rennes), Diafra Sakho (Rennes), Moussa Konate (Amiens), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke), Mbaye Niang (AC Milan)
Senegal World Cup Injuries
We will update this page with injuries regularly.
The Unanswered Questions
Will Sadio Mane’s hamstring hold out in the finals?
If it does not, it will be a big blow to Senegal. However, Liverpool have had a physio travelling with the striker for several recent internationals in Africa to help him to keep properly in shape.
Can Senegal upset some big names, as they did in 2002?
They are the one African side with the potential to shake things up in Russia in much the same way they did in Seoul, when they beat France before going on to reach the quarter-finals.
Will any locally-based players make Aliou Cisse’s squad?
Last time Senegal went to the World Cup, 21 of the 23-man squad were based at French clubs, with one from a Moroccan side and the other at Dakar-based Jeanne d’Arc. This time the players are spread out across Europe, the Middle East and even the USA, but there are no candidates from the domestic league.
Will the team’s physical strength be an advantage?
While the pace and finishing prowess of Sadio Mane is Senegal’s biggest threat, they also scored several goals from set-pieces in the qualifying campaign and will look to capitalise on such situations again. They will flood the opposing penalty area at every opportunity and try to capitalise on their height and strength.
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