World Cup 2018 Preview: Senegal

Senegal stunned the world by beating World Cup holders France in their first ever game at the global finals in 2002. Can they repeat those heroics on the big stage in Russia?

Nickname(s): The Teranga Lions

Best Finish: Quarter-finals (2002)

How they qualified: Senegal qualified for the 2018 World Cup after securing a 2-0 away win over South Africa to top their qualifying group with a game to spare. The game was a replay of an earlier fixture that ended 2-1 to South Africa but was stricken from the record due to suspicious refereeing. Second-placed Burkina Faso and South Africa appealed against FIFA’s decision to annul the result but the ruling was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Coach: Aliou Cisse

Cisse was the Senegal captain during their 2002 debut, which saw the Teranga Lions follow up that remarkable opening win against France to reach the quarter-finals and the former midfielder will be hoping he can inspire his squad to achieve similarly superlative heights next year in Russia. Cisse is regarded as a cultured, fiercely intelligent individual and coached many of Senegal’s current squad in his previous role with the U-23s.

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Key Man: Sadio Mane

Mane has struggled with injury for club and country this season and the well-being of the lightning-quick forward will be crucial to how Senegal fare in Russia, particularly since the 25-year-old played a key role in getting them there. Mane moved to Liverpool in a £30m deal from Southampton in the 2016 summer transfer window.

Opening fixtures:

June 19 vs Poland

June 24 vs Japan

June 28 vs Colombia

Squad: TBD

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