They become the first African team to do so since Nigeria and Algeria in 2014.
Senegal have secured a place in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup after their crucial game against Ecuador on Tuesday. This has pushed the Senegalese team to the knockout round of the World Cup for the first time since they emerged at the quarter-finals back in 2002.
The crucial game, which had very high stakes, saw both teams contend for the win-or-go-home game. In the first half of the game, Senegal soared over its Ecuadorian opponents, who made several attempts to match their energy and intensity. The team played with seamless energy and expertise, and in the 44th minute, Ismaïla Sarr scored a ferocious penalty goal that further ignited the competition.
Somewhere around the 67th minute, Ecuador’s Moisés Caicedo equalized for his team. But then Kalidou Koulibaly, Senegal’s team captain, took home the winning goal, with shot that placed his country in the knockout round.
This is the first time in 20 years the nation has qualified for the round of 16 since 2002, when Papa Bouba Diop was among the legends representing Senegal at the World Cup. Diop passed away in 2020 and exactly two years to the day, and Koulibaly, who scored the winning goal, wore an armband with the number number 19, on it, which was Diop’s shirt number. Senegalese fans in the stands also wore shirts with the number on it as a tribute to the deceased Senegalese icon.
In spite of Sadio Mane’s absence from the game, the Lions of Teranga proved to be proficient enough to seamlessly handle the game and bring home the win. Ismaila Sarr and Koulibaly made their country proud by scoring the goals that solidified their place as the winners.
This means that Aliou Cisse’s team will most likely face England in the next big game and potentially bring them one step closer to bringing the big win home.
The Netherlands team beat host team Qatar 2-0 in Tuesday’s other Group A game, which ultimately eliminated the host team, who struggled throughout their stint in the football competition and had a hard time winning any points over the course of the three games that they participated in.
In a conversation with Aljazeera, Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse promised that his experienced side “would not overthink” the occasion.