Kalidou Koulibaly sends strong message after guiding Senegal to FIFA World Cup knockout stages

Koulibaly sends Senegal message after 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
Koulibaly sends Senegal message after 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification

Senegal skipper Kalidou Koulibaly sent a strong message after his team secured qualification to the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 2-1 win over Ecuador on Tuesday, November 30.

Ismaila Sarr gave the African team the lead in the 44th minute from the spot before Moises Caicedo equalized for Ecuador in the second half. Koulibaly then scored the winner in the 70th minute of the game.

Senegal received a huge blow before the World Cup as star forward Sadio Mane was ruled out with an injury. Many believed the reigning African champions wouldn't perform well in the showpiece event in the Bayern Munich ace's absence.

Senegal reach the World Cup knockout stages for the first time in 20 years! πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡³

Koulibaly addressed the notion and sent out a chilling message to their opponents ahead of the Round of 16 stage. He said (via Mirror):

"Two-thirds of the world probably thought we wouldn't go through after Sadio's injury. But we are a family, a well-oiled team. There is a dream of going beyond the quarter-final. We keep believing, we want to relate the story of Senegalese football.
"The next game will be tough, every game is. But the team who plays against us will be a little bit afraid. They can see we have a lot of talent - that we can do good things."

Senegal managed to secure six points from their three group games. After a defeat to the Netherlands in the opening game, they bounced back with two wins over Qatar and Ecuador.

Koulibaly and co. will face England in the Round of 16. Senegal last reached the knockout stages in the 2002 edition, ultimately losing to Turkey in the quarter-finals.

Aliou Cisse was the team's captain then. Two decades later, he is the manager of Senegal.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse cautious ahead of England clash

Qatar v Senegal: Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Qatar v Senegal: Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Senegal coach Cisse urged his team to be ready for a completely different challenge against England in the Round of 16.

Cisse said (via Football 365):

β€œThat will be a new stage for us. We know that we are moving to the knockout stages, which is completely different from what we are used to playing in these types of (group) matches. Everyone is a good team, the best teams in the world that are competing.
"Therefore, we need to be prepared to come up against any side. It is now a win or lose situation, there are no second chances – if you win, you go through, if you lose, you go home. So for the moment, we are just going to concentrate on resting and getting fit for the next game, it is simple as that.”
Senegal have made the World Cup knockout stage two times in their entire history:©️ 2002 - Aliou Cisse captainπŸ‘” 2022 - Aliou Cisse managerNational hero πŸ¦Έβ€β™‚οΈπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡³

The England-Senegal clash will take place at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, December 4.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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