#WorldCup Preview: All hope rests on Mané and Senegal for Africa

Senegal

After Nigeria’s defeat to Argentina on Tuesday, Senegal are now the last standing hope for Africans at the World Cup …. Sigh. When will this all end? Africa really needs to step up. Thankfully, Senegal are a better team than Nigeria blessed with tremendously talented players full of energy, strength and pace. The only real question is their tactical discipline, but I believe they have all it takes to get at least a draw against the Colombians.

Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse already stated that Sadio Mane has to be better, he was better against Japan than against Poland and he still has to move up a level against the Colombians. Their keeper Khadim N’Diaye will need to be obviously better, he has to give his best performace yet for Senegal to have any real hope.

Colombia showed in their last group game that they did not come to play at the World Cup. The quartet of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Juan Quintero are good enough to worry any defence in the World Cup. I really do pray Senegal are up for it – that’s the only way they can defeat the passionate South Americans.

PREDICTIONS: 2-2

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Their only previous meeting was a friendly in Buenos Aires prior to the last World Cup in May 2014.
  • Colombia led 2-0 at half-time through goals from Teofilo Gutierrez and Carlos Bacca but Moussa Kounate and Cheikh Ndoye struck after the break to earn Senegal, who ended the game with 10 men, a 2-2 draw.

Senegal

  • Senegal have faced South American opponents just once before in the World Cup, drawing 3-3 in their final group game in 2002 against Uruguay (a game in which they led 3-0).
  • The Senegalese kept a clean sheet in their first ever World Cup match, against France in 2002, but have not recorded a shut-out in any of their subsequent six games.
  • They have conceded three goals from just seven shots on target faced at this World Cup.
  • Moussa Wague, 19, became the first African teenager to score a World Cup goal in the 2-2 draw with Japan.
  • Senegal are unbeaten in the 15 matches Sadio Mane has scored in (W9, D6).

Colombia

  • Los Cafeteros’ first World Cup match against African opposition was a 2-1 loss to Cameroon in extra time in 1990. Since then, they’ve beaten Tunisia (in 1998) and Ivory Coast (in 2014).
  • They have scored four goals from seven shots on target at the 2018 World Cup, including three from four against Poland.
  • Colombia’s 3-0 win against the Poles equalled their biggest win at the World Cup (in 2014 they beat Greece 3-0 and Japan 4-1).
  • James Rodriguez has six goals and four assists in seven World Cup appearances.

 

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