2022 World Cup: Country profile – Senegal

Factfile on Senegal, who are in World Cup Group A:

Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finalists in 2002

Other honours: African champions in 2022

FIFA ranking: 18

Main clubs: ASC Jaraaf, ASC Jeanne d’Arc, AS Douanes

How they qualified: Senegal defeated Egypt in a play-off

Coach: Aliou Cisse, 46, wants to atone for an agonising exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where Senegal lost out on a second-round place only because they accumulated more yellow cards than Japan. After losing as a player in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations final, he made amends by guiding his country to victory in Cameroon this year with a penalty shootout victory over Egypt at the end of a goalless final. Part of the Senegal team that reached the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals in South Korea, he was a midfielder at French and English clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain.

Key player: Captain Kalidou Koulibaly was born in France, but opted to represent the country where his parents were born. The 31-year-old centre-back played for French and Belgian outfits before beginning an eight-year stay with Napoli in 2014. He moved to Chelsea this year and teamed up with Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Koulibaly has been critical of African teams at the World Cup, saying they set their goals too low. “We must stop believing getting past the first round is a great achievement — winning the World Cup is a great achievement.”

Group fixtures

Nov 21: Senegal v Netherlands

Nov 25: Qatar v Senegal

Nov 29: Ecuador v Senegal

Possible squad

Goalkeepers: Seny Dieng (QPR/ENG), Alfred Gomis (Rennes/FRA), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea/ENG)

Defenders: Fode Ballo-Toure (AC Milan/ITA), Saliou Ciss (unattached), Pape Cisse (Olympiakos/GRE), Abdou Diallo (RB Leipzig/GER), Ismail Jakobs (Monaco/FRA), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea/ENG), Formose Mendy (Amiens/FRA), Youssouf Sabaly (Real Betis/ESP)

Midfielders: Idrissa Gueye (Everton/ENG), Pape Gueye (Marseille/FRA), Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Joseph Lopy (Sochaux/FRA), Mamadou Loum (Reading/ENG), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City/ENG), Moustapha Name (Pafos/CYP), Pape Sarr (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG)

Forwards: Boulaye Dia (Salernitana/ITA), Habib Diallo (Strasbourg/FRA), Krepin Diatta (Monaco/FRA), Famara Diedhiou (Alanyaspor/TUR), Bamba Dieng (Marseille/FRA), Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich/GER), Ismaila Sarr (Watford/ENG)

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