Senegal

Senegal national football team
Senegal National Football Team

World Cup Participation

2002, 2018, 2022

Championships:

None

Team Information

Senegal National Football Team History

The Beginnings

Senegal national football team became an independent country in 1960, and they fielded a national soccer team soon after. The Senegal soccer team lost their first-ever match 3-2 to Benin, but they did finish fourth in their first ever appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations in 1965.

After the 1968 version of the tournament, the Senegal national football team wouldn’t qualify for AFCON again until 1986. In the meantime, they did win six Amilcar Cabral Cups; the Amilcar Cabral Cup was a minor tournament for Western African nations. At AFCON ‘86, they won two of their three matches but that still wasn’t enough to finish top-two in their group.

 

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The Lions of Teranga finished fourth at AFCON in 1990, and they also failed to qualify for the World Cup until the 2000s. One of the best years in Senegalese football history came in 2002, when they made the AFCON final but lost in penalties to Cameroon after a scoreless draw. A first Senegal World Cup appearance the same year also produced surprising results.

Second African Team in FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals

Bruno Metsu’s Cameroon became just the second African team to make the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup. They defeated defending champions France in the group stage and advanced with draws against both Denmark and Uruguay. Senegal won in extra time over Sweden in the round of 16 but lost to Turkey in the quarterfinal.

After finishing fourth at AFCON in 2006, the team went through a decade-long dry spell. During this period, they failed to qualify for the World Cup and failed to get out of their group or missed out on AFCON in five straight tournaments.

Best Period in Senegalese Football

The rise of Sadio Mane coincided with the best period in Senegal national football team history as they qualified for their second World Cup in 2018. They beat Poland in the opener and drew with Japan but lost to Colombia in the last group stage match to get eliminated. Then, in 2019 Senegal finished as runners-up in AFCON for the second time in their history. The only two goals they conceded all tournament were against Algeria in both the group stage and the final. Winger Krepin Diatta won the best young player award.

Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to 2022, there were high hopes for Senegal at AFCON 2021 in Cameroon. Senegal delivered with dominating defensive performances and didn’t give up a single goal in the group stage as they finished atop their group. The Teranga Lions had to wait until the round of 16 for their first open play goal as Mane scored the opener against Cape Verde. Senegal went on to win 2-0 and comfortably defeated both Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso to advance to the final against Egypt.

Senegal’s First Mayor Trophy

In a battle between Liverpool teammates Mane and Mo Salah, the match finished without a goal. Mane had a chance to win the game for Senegal but his seventh minute penalty was saved by Egypt’s Mohamed Abou Gabal. In the PK shootout, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy stepped up for Senegal and Mane redeemed himself.

Mendy made a big save on Mohanad Lasheen’s penalty and Mane scored the winner to lead Senegal to their first major trophy. The duo of Mane and Mendy were named the tournament’s best player and goalkeeper, respectively.

Soon after, Senegal defeated Egypt on penalties once again in the playoff round of World Cup 2022 qualification. The win meant Senegal qualified for a second consecutive World Cup for the first time in team history.

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