Senegal are living up to the hype in Qatar. The African champions have booked their ticket to the round of 16 with two wins over Qatar and Ecuador. It has not been plain sailing for the Aliou Cisse-led side, but the former Teranga Lions player has little time to correct the anomalies in his team as the games reach crunch time.
African sides have had an average outing at the World Cup, with three of the five representatives in with a shout to go far in the tournament. The Teranga Lions are already through to the round of 16. Ghana and Morocco look good to sail through, with Cameroon and Tunisia walking a tightrope.
Aliou Cisse has praised his side’s qualification for the knockout stage of the World Cup but understands the stakes are higher from now onwards. The chances of an African side winning the World Cup are slim, but Cisse remains hopeful and said Senegal must prepare for a different type of football.
Senegal must be ready for the crunch games
Senegal became the first African country to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. The Teranga Lions were ranked as dark horses to win the World Cup, and so far, they have lived up to expectations. They garnered six points from two wins in the group stage, but their manager Aliou Cisse believes the next round will be demanding.
Cisse says his side has to prepare for a different type of football following their qualification to the next round. Senegal booked their place in the last 16, thanks to a 2-1 win over Ecuador, with goals from Ismaila Sarr and captain Kalidou Koulibaly.
Cisse is unperturbed about their next opponent but remains focused on the task ahead. Cisse, a former Teranga Lion player, who was part of the Senegal side that went all the way to the quarter-final in 2002, believes this current crop of players can emulate the same feat.
Cisse focuses on the knockout stage
Aliou Cisse is looking forward to the round of 16 and understands that the margin for error is minimal. The Senegal manager knows the strategy for the next stage will differ from the group stage. The manager knows every team at the World Cup is good.
Senegal will take on England in the round of 16, with the tie coming up on Sunday. England have never lost to an African side at the World Cup, the closest being the 3-2 win over Cameroon at Italia 90. According to Cisse, the competition has reached the stage where it is win or burst. There are no second chances, and Senegal must be at their best to overcome the Three Lions.
With two Lion pride to battle on Sunday, Cisse says, for now, his team will concentrate on resting and getting fit for the next game. He wants to keep things simple as Senegal seeks to reach its second quarter-final at the World Cup. After qualification to the round of 16, the Senegalese players paid tribute to Papa Bouba Diop on the anniversary of his death two years ago.
After securing qualification, Senegal’s players paid tribute to Papa Bouba Diop on the anniversary of his death two years ago. Diop scored the country’s first goal at the 2002 World Cup. They went on to reach the quarter-finals.