World Cup 2018 Senegal team profile: How they qualified, star man, World Cup record, fixtures
Senegal come into the World Cup ranked 28th in the world. This team can be one of the surprises of the tournament. Here is everything you need to know.
- Honours: Africa Cup of Nations (Runners-up 2002)
- FIFA Ranking: 28th
HOW THEY QUALIFIED?
The Lions of Teranga have qualified for just their second World Cup, the first coming in 2002. Senegal won four and drew one of their six games in the third stage of African qualifying after a 5-2 aggregate victory over Madagasgar in the previous round. Their group featured Burkina Faso, Cape Verde Islands and South Africa but the Senegalese players conceded just three goals.
STAR MAN – Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
There's no surprise as to who will be Senegal's prime attacking threat. Last season Mane scored 20 goals and had nine assists - including one in the Champions League final against Real Madrid. He has been playing for the national team since 2012, with 48 games and 14 goals.
Senegal's Sadio Mane (L) vies for the ball withBosnia's Edin Visca (R) during an international friendly football match between Senegal and Bosnia at the Stadium Oceane in Le Havre, northwestern France on March 27, 2018.Getty Images
He also holds the Premier League record for the fastest hat-trick after scoring three goals in 176 seconds for Southampton in 2015 in a 6-1 win against Aston Villa. When he transferred to Liverpool in 2016, he became the most expensive African player ever at £34 million. Mané has been the star man for his country for several years and has been compared to El Hadji Diouf, the talisman of the 2002 side.
NEXT BIG THING – KEITA BALDE (AS Monaco)
The 23-year-old signed for Monaco in 2017 for a fee of €30 million having previously played for Lazio. The young midfielder has been in great form for the past 12 months, playing in 33 of Monaco’s matches, scoring eight goals with 11 assists.
Senegal national football team's forward Keita Balde Diao takes part in a training session at the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium in Dakar on May 25, 2018, before travelling to the French northeastern city of Vittel for their FIFA Russia 2018 World Cup prepGetty Images
THE COACH – ALIOU CISSE
Former midfielder Alou Cisse, 42, was the captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sixteen years ago Senegal made history at the World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in their debut appearance. Cisse was appointed national team boss in 2015 and was unbeaten through the African qualifiers.
Senegal's football coach Aliou Cisse looks on at a hotel in Dakar on May 17, 2018, during the announcement of squad members ahead of the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.Getty Images
Cisse played for the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Montpellier HSC, CS Sedan, Birmingham City and Portsmouth during his playing career. He led the national team to the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations in 2017.
WORLD CUP HISTORY
Senegal have just one World Cup appearance to their name, 2002. They beat World and European champions France 1-0 in their first-ever match thanks to a goal from Papa Bouba Diop. They reached the quarter-finals, losing 1-0 to Turkey after extra time.
REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
The team has many players from some of the top clubs in Europe. The team was strong in defence during qualifying and that record could prove crucial with Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly as the leader of the back five. With Mane and Balde up front Senegal will have enough fire power to worry any side..
Cissé has moulded a team that is strong in all areas with a number of quality players which allows the manager to play a 4-3-3 formation.
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