“Football family saddened by Mane’s absence”

Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty in a shoot-out as Senegal beat Egypt to win the Africa Cup of Nations
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Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse says the football family is “sad” about Sadio Mane’s absence but his side will “up to the challenge” at the World Cup.

The African champions open their campaign on Monday (16:00 GMT) against Group A opponents the Netherlands.

Bayern Munich forward Mane will miss the tournament due to a knee injury.

“We’re not just talking about Senegalese, we’re talking about people around the world and the whole football family is sad,” said Cisse.

“He represents both the African continent and Senegal,” he added. “I received calls from all over the world.

“All coaches build teams around their best player, and so do we. We also have a strong team with experienced and young players who are ready to take on the challenge.”

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk said he spoke to former Liverpool team-mate Mane.

“As a friend, I just wanted to know how he is. I feel sad for him. I know how hard he worked for this and he wants to be important for Senegal,” he added.

“He’s been important, especially in the last few years. It’s tough. Obviously they’ll miss him a lot. Hopefully we can benefit a bit from that.”


Monaco winger Krepin Diatta and Marseille’s Bamba Dieng are in line for Mane. to replace, but RB Leipzig’s Abdou Diallo could be out with a knee problem.

The Netherlands are without striker Memphis Depay, who scored 12 goals in World Cup qualifying, with a hamstring injury.

Defender Denzel Dumfries is in question while midfielder Marten de Roon is struggling with a back problem.


Senegal coach Aliou Cisse
Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse and winger Krepin Diatta addressed the media ahead of their opening match on Sunday

Mane is eliminated from the tournament, which is a big blow for Senegal. They won the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year but have struggled to score, even with him in the team.

Senegal are strong defensively and don’t concede many goals either, but that lack of penetration could cost them if they reach the knockout rounds.

However, I’m very confident that the Netherlands will reach the last 16 and I think they might surprise some people at this tournament.

It sounds strange to say that the Dutch are dark horses here because they traditionally have such a strong international team, but I’m not sure that has been the case in recent years.

However, you look at this team and they have so many talented players. If they click, they can go far – and they should be off to a flying start here.

forecast: 0-2

Chris Sutton’s predictions for the opening round of World Cup matches


head to head

  • This is the first encounter between Senegal and the Netherlands in all competitions.
  • Senegal and the Netherlands qualified for a World Cup together for the first time. The Dutch failed to qualify for the two World Cups in which Senegal participated (2002, 2018).
  • The Netherlands have a W3-D1-L0 record against African opponents at the World Cup. They have won their last five games in all competitions against African opponents.
  • Senegal has a W3-D3-N2 record in World Cup games. All three victories were against European opposition.


  • Senegal was one of two teams to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after a penalty shootout in their last qualifier
  • They have won their opening game in their two World Cup games: 1-0 against France in 2002 and 2-1 against Poland in 2018
  • The best result by an African team at the World Cup was reaching the quarter-finals: Cameroon 1990, Senegal 2002 and Ghana 2010.
  • Senegal have scored seven of their eleven World Cup goals before half-time. They conceded seven of their 10 goals in the second half or overtime.
  • Idrissa Gueye (96) is second in Senegal’s all-time leader, behind only Henri Camara (98).
  • Senegalese coach Aliou Cissé has been involved in all of Senegal’s World Cup campaigns. He was captain in 2002 and manager of the team in 2018 and 2022.


  • This is the Netherlands’ 11th participation in a World Cup. They failed to qualify in 2018 after finishing third in 2014 in Louis van Gaal’s second term.
  • The Netherlands are the only team to have played in at least three World Cup finals and never won the cup. These three final defeats came in 1974 (1-2 against hosts West Germany), 1978 (1-3 after extra time against hosts Argentina) and 2010 (0-1 after extra time against Spain).
  • They have never been eliminated in their eight appearances in the first group stage of a World Cup.
  • The Dutch have lost just one of their last 14 World Cup games (games decided by penalty shoot-outs are settled as a draw).
  • The Netherlands are the only team at the 2022 World Cup to have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three World Cup games.

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