World Cup 2018: 3 Reasons why Senegal lost 0-1 to Colombia
Senegal lost to Colombia 0-1, courtesy a second-half header from Yerry Mina, to send the Africans home, and ensure that the South Americans top Group H.
This means that no African team has made it past the group stages at the 2018 World Cup, while four South American teams have progressed. The result also meant joy for Japan, despite their 0-1 loss to Poland in the other group game. The Japanese, in the end, progressed on the fair play count, as they had the same goal difference, goals scored as Senegal.
It was a disappointing performance from the Senegal side, whose World Cup began with such promise, in the 2-1 victory over Poland.
Here are three reasons for Senegal's reverse in this game.
#3 The midfield lets Senegal down
Senegal were always a team that were going to play direct football, to use the pace and power of the likes of M'Baye Niang and Sadio Mane up front, but in this game, they needed a Plan B, which involved building up play from midfield.
They started with a 4-4-2 formation, with Mane partnering Niang up front, and Idrissa Gueye and Cheikhou Kouyate manning the midfield. The long balls to the frontmen from Kalidou Koulibaly and Salif Sane was not working, and as senior players, Gueye and Kouyate should have stepped up to pull the strings from the centre of the park.
Instead, they were wasteful in possession, and their passing lacked any kind of verve or purpose. Mateus Uribe and Carlos Sanchez did a fantastic job in the midfield for Colombia, as they closed down Gueye and Kouyate at every opportunity they got, refusing to allow the Senegalese to take control of the game.
Gueye, especially, was a disappointment. His usual urgency and defensive nous in midfield were lacking, especially in the second half, as Juan Quintero was allowed to boss the game for the Colombians from a deeper role in midfield.
Gueye could also have done better on the line at the corner from which Mina headed home Colombia's winner.