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World Cup 2022: Who is Senegal’s best player without Sadio Mane? Why is Idrissa Gueye suspended against England?


Senegal reached the knockout stage of the World Cup for just the second time following a dramatic 2-1 win over Ecuador. Their reward? A clash with England on Sunday.

The African champions were seen as a potential dark horse coming into the tournament, but an injury to their star player Sadio Mane less than two weeks before Qatar was a big blow.
Mane suffered a leg injury for Bayern Munich and was named in Senegal’s World Cup squad. However, he was ruled out of the competition due to surgery and could be out for some time.

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Having lost their opening game to the Netherlands 2-0, Senegal were up against it, especially with Ecuador flying high.

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They beat Qatar 3-1 which left them with a winner takes all match versus Ecuador, who could afford a draw to finish as Group A runners-up.

An Ismaila Sarr penalty put Senegal ahead, but Moises Caicedo equalised to make it 1-1. Just two minutes later, Senegal’s captain Kalidou Koulibaly put them back in front from a set piece which put his nation into the knockout stage.

Who is Senegal’s best player against England?

That man Koulibaly is the player England will be weary of as he could hold the Senegal backline together and keep them compact for 90 minutes.

You could see the concentration on his face throughout the Ecuador game and when he volleyed in a headed-down ball.

The Chelsea defender is a leader for Senegal in a similar way to how Virgil Van Dijk is for the Netherlands.

He brings an intensity that could make Senegal difficult to play through and has made some crucial tackles for his country this year which helped them win the Africa Cup of Nations and qualify for the World Cup itself.

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“Two-thirds of the world probably thought we wouldn’t go through after Sadio’s injury, but we are a family, a well-oiled team,” Koulibaly said after qualifying for the last 16.

“There is a dream of going beyond the quarter-final. We keep believing, we want to relate the story of Senegalese football.

“The next game will be tough, every game is. But the team who plays against us will be a little bit afraid. They can see we have a lot of talent – that we can do good things.”

Koulibaly references the quarter-finals because that’s how far Senegal far on the only other occasions they got out of the group.

That happened at the 2002 World Cup when a 1-0 defeat to Turkey in extra-time denied them a place in the semi-finals.

Why is Gueye not playing?

Another threat to England would have been Idrissa Gueye but the midfielder won’t be able to play at the Al Bayt Stadium on because of a one match suspension.

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Gueye picked up a yellow card in Senegal’s 2-0 loss to the Netherlands and in their 2-1 victory against Ecuador.

Players that pick up two yellow cards in separate matches prior to the end of the quarter-finals are suspended for one match. The cards are wiped following the last eight.

Who else are Senegal’s best players?

Nobody else is yet to stand out for Senegal which makes England big favourites to win. Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has been far from his best as he has been at fault for a few of Senegal’s goals.

Ismalia Sarr has not shown much up front and Senegal’s other attackers have lacked quality so expect England to have most of the ball.

It would certainly be a major upset if the Three Lions are not in the quarter-finals.

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Transfers

Everton re-sign midfielder Gueye from PSG, Garner joins from Man Utd

01/09/2022 AT 16:32

Premier League

‘It’s more our fault’ – Tuchel blasts individual errors in Chelsea’s shock loss to Leeds

21/08/2022 AT 16:39

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