AFCON champions Senegal was the first African nation to qualify for the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Drawn up with Ecuador, Netherlands, and hosts Qatar, the African favorites secured a runners-up position. In their opener Netherlands, Senegal lost 2-0 in a one-sided affair.
They, however, bounced back in the second match against Qatar when they won 3-1. They earned their first win of the 2022 World Cup, giving them a record of at least one win in all three of their group stage participations at the World Cup. In 2002 versus France, in 2018 against Poland, and in 2022 against Qatar. If you want to know about Uruguay Fails To Qualify Even With Win Against Ghana, click here.
When they played Ecuador, Senegal became the first African nation to beat a South American side at the World Cup since Cameroon did Colombia in 1990, ending a 21-game winless run for African countries.
First Game Ever Against England
When they played in the round of 16, that was the first senior international match between England and Senegal. The three Lions, who won the 1966 World Cup on home soil, have since struggled at the stage. However, coming to the Qatar World Cup, the Englishmen were undoubtedly among the favorites to win it all. This is on account of the quality of their squad.
Drawn up in Group B with the United States of America, Wales, and Iran, England was the clear favorite to win the group as they did. However, their opening match against Iran opened their World Cup campaign with a 6-2.
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The Three Lions took a 3-0 lead into the break, with Bellingham scoring his first England goal at the World Cup. This was before Saka and Sterling added to the tally. Saka got his second just after the hour mark before Taremi scored Iran’s when he fired a shot in the 65th minute.
Rashford and Grealish both came off the bench to wrap it up, with Rashford scoring just 49 seconds after his introduction. A late penalty from Taremi after a foul ended the game 6-2. England has since gone unbeaten, yet drawing with only the States.
Does Senegal Have What It Takes?
Senegal, who lost their star player, Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane, have been relentless in the World Cup. They are now set to play England with the striker and suspended midfielder Idrissa Gueye.
They remain the only African side to have won knockout phase games against European nations in nine attempts. They overcame Sweden in the round of 16 in 2002. However, the African side has reasons to be confident after beating Qatar and Ecuador to finish a point behind the Netherlands in Group A.
Can they defy all odds and topple England?