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.”
Nov 21: Senegal v Netherlands
Nov 25: Qatar v Senegal
Nov 29: Ecuador v Senegal
Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea/ENG), Seny Dieng (QPR/ENG), Alfred Gomis (Rennes/FRA).
Defenders: Yousouf Sabaly (Real Betis/ESP), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea/ENG), Abdou Diallo (RB Leipzig/GER), Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiakos/GRE), Formose Mendy (Amiens/FRA), Ismail Jakobs (Monaco/FRA), Fode Ballo Toure (AC Milan/ITA).
Midfielders: Nampalys Mendy (Leicester/ENG), Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Papa Matar-Sarre (Tottenham/ENG), Idrissa Gueye (Everton/ENG), Krepin Diatta (Monaco/FRA), Moustapha Name (Paphos/CYP), Loum Ndiaye(Porto/POR), Papa Gueye (Marseille/FRA), Pathe Ciss (Rayo Vallecano/ESP).
Forwards: Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich/GER), Boulaye Dia (Salernitana/ITA), Nicolas Jackson (Villarreal/ESP), Bamba Dieng (Marseille/FRA), Iliman Ndiaye (Sheffield United/ENG), Ismaila Sarr (Watford/ENG), Famara Diedhiou (Alanyaspor/TUR).
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