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World Cup: Senegal team profile

Senegal failed to impress at the 2018 World Cup, but they head to Qatar as the reigning champions of Africa and will have every confidence of springing a surprise this winter.

The Lions of Teranga beat Egypt in the final at the start of the year and will feel they have what it takes to improve on their last World Cup performance when they were eliminated in the group stage.

Senegal are 80/1 to lift the trophy this winter, while forward Sadio Mane is 100/1 to be named the top goalscorer in Qatar.

WhatWorld Cup
WhereQatar
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV
OddsBrazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Argentina 7/1, Spain 8/1

What is Senegal's World Cup record?

Senegal have only previously played at two World Cups, so this winter promises to be a special few months for supporters.

Senegal was part of France for the first eight World Cups and they could not qualify on their own until 1970.

They missed the first 16 editions of the tournament before qualifying for the first time in 2002 - Senegal headed to Japan and South Korea with nothing to lose and launched a stunning run to the quarter-finals.

That performance was the launchpad for many of the squad, with the likes of Henri Camara, El Hadji Diouf, Amdy Faye, Salif Diao and Papa Bouba Diop all making the switch to England.

Senegal then failed to qualify for the tournaments in Germany, South Africa and Brazil, before qualifying again in 2018.

Sadly they failed to advance from the group stage in Russia, finishing third behind Colombia and Japan. They only missed out on goal difference four years ago and will hope to have more luck this time.

PositionYear
Quarter-finals2002
Group stage

2018

How did Senegal qualify?

Senegal were ranked the best team in Africa ahead of the qualifiers, which granted them a bye into the group stages.

Aliou Cisse's side were drawn against Togo, Namibia and Congo in Group H, which they dominated, winning five of their six qualifiers to finish eight points ahead of second-placed Togo.

They were handed a tough draw in the third round as they faced Egypt over two legs for a place in Qatar. However, as they did in the Africa Cup of Nations final, they overcame the Pharaohs on penalties.

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Who is in Senegal's group?

Senegal have been drawn in Group A alongside the hosts, Ecuador and the Netherlands. Senegal kick their tournament off with a match against the Netherlands in Doha on 21st November.

If they can avoid defeat on matchday one, they will feel they can get into a rhythm when facing Qatar four days later, before they end the group stage against Ecuador in Al Rayyan on 29th November.

Who is Senegal's star player?

Bayern Munich's Mane is the leading star in Senegal's squad and is also one of the most experienced players within the group.

Mane made his debut for Senegal in 2012, featuring at that year's Olympics. He has led by example ever since and finally got his rewards this year when winning the Africa Cup of Nations.

The former Liverpool man was part of the Senegal squad that finished as runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 and he still has plenty of time to improve his record for his country.

Mane is not the only big name amongst Senegal's squad, with Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy now the number one choice for the national team.

Fellow Blues player Kalidou Koulibaly has made over 60 appearances for his country, while the likes of Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gueye, Nampalys Mendy, Cheikhou Kouyate, Keita Balde and Ismaila Sarr also don the colours of the Lions of Teranga.

What is Senegal's predicted line-up and tactics?

Senegal predicted line-up (4-3-3): Edouard Mendy; Bouna Sarr, Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo, Saliou Ciss; Cheikhou Kouyate, Nampalys Mendy, Idrissa Gueye; Ismaila Sarr, Boulaye Dia, Sadio Mane.

Cisse's side could be considered dark horses for the World Cup, but he will need some luck along the way with injuries.

Should Mane suffer an injury, Senegal's chances of qualifying will dramatically decrease, but they should not be overlooked if they have a fully-fit squad.

Cisse has been open to formation changes in the past, while it was a 4-3-3 tactic that got the better of Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Edouard Mendy will start in goal, all being well, and he will be protected by Diallo and Koulibaly in defence.

Senegal's midfield is packed with Premier League experience, with Gueye, Nampalys Mendy and Kouyate trying to control the engine room.

Sarr and Mane are often selected on the flanks, while former Bristol City forward Famara Diedhiou and Boulaye Dia will compete to start through the middle.

How far can Senegal go in Qatar?

Senegal may have never progressed past the quarter-finals of a World Cup but, if they are going to do so, then this year could be the time.

Cisse's side have the experience of handling pressure and their squad is arguably as talented as the one that broke onto the world stage in 2002.

With Mane at the forefront of their attacks, they could reach the last eight at odds of 4/1.

While the Netherlands deserve to be the favourites to win Group A, Senegal should progress into the knockout stages at 8/11.

By qualifying second, they will be handed a tougher draw, but it would come as no surprise to see them overcome one of the giants from Europe or South America.

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