With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in 30 days, it’s time to explore one of the leading contenders in Group A, Sadio Mané’s Senegal.
Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.
Yesterday, we looked into La Tri, aka Ecuador. Here’s what you need to know about their Group A rival, Senegal.
Nickname: Lions of Teranga
Colors: Green, yellow, red
Coach: Aliou Cissé (Senegal)
Senegal is loaded with top European league talent. Obviously, you got Sadio Mané to watch out for – the Champions League champion and current Bayern striker is deadly in his zone. Then there’s captain Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea, a stalwart defender and heading threat, and his London teammate, goalkeeper Édouard Mendy. In total, Senegal has about 20 guys in the top five Euro league, making the 2021 AFCON Champions a formidable foe.
Senegal’s best World Cup performance came in 2002 when they lost 1-0 to Turkey on a last-ditch, 94th-minute game-winner in the quarterfinals. Senegal is the reigning 2021 AFCON Champions, winning on penalties over rivals Egypt and Mohamed Salah.
Tournament Prediction: Round of 16 loss to England.
Senegal is in an excellent position to survive Group A against Qatar, Ecuador, and the Netherlands. While defeating the Dutch would be an upset, Qatar and Ecuador should be easy wins. That puts Senegal in second place for the group, leaving them to face the likely winner of Group B, England. Senegal would likely face France next if they did defeat England, followed by either Belgium or Uruguay. Senegal has enough talent to be a dark horse and make a deep run – the question, of course, is will they do it?
(We think not.)
Featured Image: DALL-E 2/Senegalese Football Federation/DM