Senegal: Things to know about England's World Cup last 16 opponents

Sean Walsh
Senegal will face England on Sunday
Senegal will face England on Sunday / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages
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England are through to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the fifth time in their last six campaigns after romping their way to the top of Group B.

The Three Lions have set up a last 16 clash with Senegal after they managed to leapfrog Ecuador into second place in Group A earlier on Tuesday.

It'll be a tricky tie for Gareth Southgate and co to tackle against an opponent England have never faced in their history.

Here are some interesting things to know about the Senegal national team.


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1. Down on their luck

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane was ruled out of the World Cup / Stefan Matzke - sampics/GettyImages

There have been fewer nations who have had tougher luck at World Cups than Senegal in their three appearances.

Their debut in 2002 saw them cause a major shock by dumping out holders France in the group stage, before falling to Turkey on the golden goal rule. They were eliminated in the groups in 2018 due to their fair play record. Star man Sadio Mane was ruled out of the 2022 tournament after picking up an injury in his final club game before jetting off to Qatar.

To make matters worse this time around, Idrissa Gueye is suspended for their clash with England.

2. The World Cup's greatest nickname

Well, Senegal haven't always been fortunate on the pitch, but they're still a very proud nation off of it.

They are known as the 'Lions of Teranga', the third word of which is said to defy translation because of its significance in Senegalese culture.

It essentially means 'hospitality' in the language of Wolof, but it is a mindset and feeling in spiritual belonging that has been passed down through the country's generations.

3. Legendary manager

Aliou Cisse
Cisse is an icon / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

In manager Aliou Cisse, Senegal are led by a national hero.

He captained them to their first Africa Cup of Nations final and World Cup quarter-final in 2002.

As a coach, he's led them to their second AFCON final in 2019, their first AFCON title earlier this year, and now their second World Cup knockout stage.

4. English familiarity

Ismaila Sarr, Iliman Ndiaye
Ndiaye and Sarr have been Championship standouts / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Nine of Senegal's 26-player squad at the World Cup currently ply their trade at English clubs.

Chelsea duo Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly are their two biggest names, while their starting wingers - Ismalia Sarr of Watford and Iliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United - have been among the Championship's better players this season.

Seny Dieng (QPR), Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester), Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingam Forest), Pape Matar Sarr (Tottenham) and Mamadou Loum (Reading) are also based in England.

5. Penalty shootout record

FBL-AFR-AFCON-2021-2022-SEN-EGY
This Senegal side have held their nerve from the spot / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/GettyImages

Yeah, this is the one you've all been waiting for.

Senegal have taken part in just four competitive penalty shootouts, winning their last two - both against Mohamed Salah's Egypt this year, one to secure their first AFCON title and one to seal World Cup qualification.

By contrast, England have won just three of their ten shootouts in their history.

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