One of the biggest wins in Senegal’s History equals a win for a nation; this is what winning a World Cup game means and why the tournament is so special. The World Cup is only held once every four years, and having the privilege to represent a country on the biggest stage in football is a dream every footballer wants to experience. One of the biggest wins in Senegal’s history came at this World Cup with an upset during their group stage matches.
The African nation of Senegal is a third-world country with one of the lowest human development index of 0.5, which is the lowest out of all the current countries at the World Cup. Their football club has given the country something to root for. They rank 18th in FIFA rankings and are participating in their third-ever World Cup.
The nation recently won the African Cup of Nations in 2021 and are one of the best teams in Africa. They are led by Bayern Munich star Sadio Mane, who came in second in the Ballon D’or voting. He is labeled as an icon for his country. Mane has built several homes and hospitals while donating half of his net worth to building and modernizing Senegal.
Unfortunately, the star midfielder picked up an injury just before the World Cup and didn’t participate in the tournament. This was heart-breaking to both him and the nation that looks up to him. However, this didn’t stop them from believing heading to Qatar which saw them complete the biggest win in Senegal’s History.
They join the Netherlands, Qatar, and Ecuador in Group A and were the underdogs to come out of the group. Despite putting up a good performance against the Netherlands, two late goals cost them a loss in their first match. An easy win against Qatar means just a win against Ecuador will see them move to the Round of 16.
With Mane out, Senegal will look to captain and Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Senegal took the lead against Ecuador with a penalty made by Ismaila Sarr just before the half. Ecuador responded in the 67th minute with a goal from Moises Caicedo. With the nation on the brink of elimination, their captain comes up to save the day with a goal in the 70th minute to give Senegal the 2-1 win and clinch a spot in the Round of 16.
This was also one of the biggest wins in Senegal’s history. They are the first African team to appear in the knockout round since 2014. With Mane watching from home, the scenes after Senegal’s win touched the hearts of football fans around the world. They will now face England on Sunday.
In just their second appearance in the knockout round, all eyes will be on the nation to make more history. England seemed to be cruising through the group stage, until a hiccup match against the United States made the team rethink their tactics.
After sealing a 3-0 win against Wales, England will be a tough opponent for Senegal. Nonetheless, Senegal will not be an easy team to beat with a nation hungry and proud to represent their small African nation in hopes of changing the perception of football in Africa.