England’s next opponents Senegal will be full of confidence when the nations meet in Qatar on Sunday – and are no strangers to producing a major World Cup shock.
Gareth Southgate will be aware his team are favourites to win the last 16 tie, but will face a strong test from a Senegal side who he says are a “very dangerous team”.
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What do we know about Senegal?
Senegal boasted an impressive record during qualification for the World Cup finals – and earlier this year they were crowned African Cup of Nations champions for the first time when they beat Egypt on penalties in the final.
Nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, they became just the second team from Africa to reach a World Cup quarter-final stage with a memorable run at the 2002 tournament.
They recorded a famous win over France, then beat Sweden in the round of 16 before eventually losing to Turkey.
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Senegal include around a dozen names who play their club football in England – but their World Cup ambitions were dealt a huge blow when their best player Sadio Mane was ruled out of the tournament due to injury.
How did Senegal reach the last 16?
Aliou Cisse’s men finished second in Group A – but needed two big results after a difficult start to their campaign in Qatar.
They lost 2-0 to the Netherlands – the eventual Group A winners – after conceding two late goals in what had been a tight affair, before heading into their second match with tournament hosts Qatar.
Boulaye Dia gave Senegal the lead in the 41st minute before Famara Diedhiou’s brilliant header from a corner just after the break gave them control of the game.
Qatar pulled a goal back, but Bamba Dieng secured a 3-1 victory with a goal in the 84th minute.
In their final group match, Senegal knew they had to beat Ecuador to give them a chance of progressing into the knockout stages.
Ecuador had already held the Netherlands to a 1-1 draw and held second spot in the Group A table ahead of the match.
Watford’s Ismaila Sarr gave Senegal the lead just before half-time from the penalty spot – but they allowed Ecuador to level in the second half with their first decent chance.
But Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly’s volley in the 70th minute gave them a 2-1 victory and secured them a second-placed finish in Group A.
Senegal were impressive in qualifying for the finals in Qatar – topping their section and remaining unbeaten.
They did, however, need a penalty shootout to beat Egypt in their play-off tie after drawing 1-1 on aggregate. Mane scored the winning kick as they secured qualification 3-1 on penalties.
Image: Fans in Senegal celebrate their team’s victory against Ecuador
Who are the players to watch out for?
Senegal fans have been worried about how their team will do without influential Bayern Munich attacker Mane, who was ruled out of the tournament due to injury.
But despite the loss of their best player, Senegal still carry a combined threat with other big names in the team.
The Chelsea goalkeeper may have had his form questioned for his club, but for his country he remains an important player.
He has yet to keep a clean sheet at the tournament and will need a big performance against England.
Senegal’s captain has long been rated one of the world’s top centre-backs and has plenty of experience to handle the big occasion.
He showed his value to the team at both ends of the pitch with the winning goal which secured the vital victory over Ecuador.
In the absence of the injured Mane, there has been a greater expectation placed on the Watford forward.
His only goal so far has come via a coolly taken penalty, having won the spot-kick himself, and he has the pace and movement to trouble any opposition.
World Cup shock to remember
Senegal’s 2002 World Cup group match victory over former coloniser France in Seoul remains one of the nation’s sporting highlights – and one of football’s biggest upsets.
France were the holders, lifting the trophy in 1998 and then following it up by winning Euro 2000.
They boasted such talent as Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Patrick Vieira and Lilian Thuram and were tipped to win their third major tournament in succession – before they met Senegal, ranked as low as 42 in the world by FIFA.
Read more:World Cup’s greatest shocks
After good pressurising and play by Omar Daf and El Hadji Diouf, Papa Bouba Diop took advantage of a mix-up in the French defence to slot the ball home with 30 minutes played.
And England should beware as the current Senegal coach is Aliou Cisse, who was the captain of the Senegal team which produced the 2002 South Korea-Japan World Cup upset.
The result helped Senegal qualify for the knockout stage, while France ended up finishing bottom of Group A.
Source : Sky News