After a long wait for a win by an African team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Senegal has finally broken the duck as they marched to a 2-1 victory against Poland. The British media has dubbed the result a ‘shock’ win but was it really unexpected? Our African football expert, Dennis Takaendesa, boldly predicted that Senegal would top Group H ahead of Colombia, Japan and Poland prior to this match. This is because of the fire-power that the African side possesses as well as their tactical discipline drilled into them by the new coach, Aliou Cisse. For those of you that missed the match, here’s a recap.
Senegal set up with a compact 4-4-2 formation that sought to cover the field and limit the passing lanes for the Polish team. Their goal was to starve Robert Lewandowski from having any impact in the game, and it worked effectively.
Poland had little in the match before Idrissa Gana Gueye took a shot from distance which deflected off of Cionek before rolling into the back of the net. 1-0 to Les Lions de la Téranga. Poland had to chase the game but were well and truly outmatched for most of it. 15 minutes into the second half, Cisse’s team added a second through M’baye Niang which lifted the spirits of the fans. For some of us who were watching the match in the comforts of our homes, you could not imagine how much furniture was broken in our joyous celebrations as Senegal proved once again that they are not underdogs. Krychowiak scored a consolation in the 86th minute but it was not enough.
Senegal made a statement in their attempts to get out of the group stage. We analyzed how the African teams lost the previous matches and detailed out how Senegal should play. They did just that. Thank you, Senegal. We are now hungry for more.