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Qatar 2022:

Qatar 2022: Why Senegal could be the first African nation to get to a World Cup final

Senegal have some of the best players in Europe in their squad and this could be the year for Africa to win

African champions Senegal have the tools to go all the way in Qatar

Senegal have some of the best players in Europe in their squad and this could be the year for Africa.

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Senegal are blessed with speed, skill and strength in abundance as well as having stars like the Chelsea duo, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly so why not?

Over the first three group games, the Senegalese team moved through the gears. The first fixture against the Netherlands was a reality check and one they quickly needed to bounce back from.

African teams barely made any noise at the World Cup up until Italia '90 when Cameroon became the feel-good story of the tournament. They performed well above expectations by beating world champions Argentina then came to a whisker away from setting up a semi-final with West Germany before a couple of late goals from Gary Lineker penalties sent England to the Semifinals instead.

That was the start of African teams believing in themselves and their capabilities on the global stage. This year, Senegal have the tools and the belief in themselves to push as hard as possible.

Kalidou Koulibaly

The Chelsea defender is the captain, leader and heartbeat of this team. Senegal cannot hope to go far without getting the best out of Koulibaly. He has excellent anticipation and is a constant threat from set piece situations. A key figure for Senegal.

Edouard Mendy

The Senegal and Chelsea goalkeeper has been inconsistent over the past few months and even lost his place to Kepa Arrizabalaga but his performances in the group stage have been impressive.

Mendy was the goalkeeper of the year in 2021 and deserves the benefit of the doubt despite a dip in form. Behind Koulibaly, he is a leader for Senegal and will be heavily relied on against England in the second round and hopefully beyond.

Ismaila Sarr

Ismaila Sarr is the chief goalscorer for this team in the absence of Sadio Mane. His raw pace and finishing ability are a base for Senegal to build their tournament hopes on.

He is a threat either on the flank or through the middle and he stretches defences to even create spaces for other forwards. Sarr has proven he can score the goals to fire Senegal all the way.

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