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By Pat Woods

Team: Senegal

Nickname: Les Lions de la Téranga (The Lions of Téranga)

World Cup appearances: 1 (Quarter-finals in 2002)

World ranking: 27

Coach: Aliou Cissé

Captain: Cheikhou Kouyaté

Player to watch: Sadio Mané
The Liverpool winger is the most well-known player in Senegal’s squad, and for good reason. Mané owns the record for the fastest hat-trick in the English Premier League, scoring three times for Southampton in an incredible 176-second effort against Aston Villa in 2015. The following year he became the highest paid African player in history when he moved to Liverpool for £34 million. He demonstrated his ability to score in big matches in this year’s UEFA Champions League Final, and Mané will savour the opportunity to represent his county on the biggest stage of all.

NowUC predictor:
Senegal topped its group in African World Cup qualification without losing a game, and impressively scored two goals in five out of their six matches. Also impressive during qualification was its ability to keep a clean sheet, holding their opponents scoreless in four of the six matches. Senegal will have to rely on their strong defence to get results against teams including the likes of Robert Lewandowski (Poland), James Rodriguez and Falcao (both of Colombia). If the Lions of Téranga can take points against either Poland or Colombia, they will be a decent chance to repeat the efforts of their only previous World Cup appearance in 2002, where they made it out of the group stage, eventually losing in the quarter finals.

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