Yuto Nagatomo (L) of Japan and Ismaila Sarr of Senegal in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group H preliminary round soccer match between Japan and Senegal in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 24 June 2018.
Wednesday Jul 04, 2018. 09:30
AfricanFootball looks back at Senegal’s 2018 World Cup campaign and picks their best and worst players.
Best player – Ismaila Sarr
Ismaila Sarr belied his youth and lack of experience by putting in three fine showings for Senegal at the 2018 World Cup, and he will certainly be on the radar of some big European clubs ahead of the 2018/19 season. The 20-year-old plays his club football in Ligue 1 with Stade Rennais and the fact that he outshone household names such as Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gueye and Mame Biram Diouf speaks volumes for his potential.
Sadio Mane – Not nearly as influential as Senegal fans would have hoped, Mane was singled out as the dangerman and closely marked through all three group matches, yet still managed a goal against Japan.
Moussa Wague – A superb goal against Japan made him the youngest African scorer in World Cup history. The 19-year-old has a great future ahead of him.
Khadim N’Diaye – Often let down by the defence in front of him, goalkeeper N’Diaye still enjoyed a solid campaign in Russia and was particularly good against Poland.
Worst player – Youssouf Sabaly
It may seem harsh, but Youssouf Sabaly was one of two players who picked up a totally unnecessary caution late in the game against Japan (the other was Cheikh N’Doye) which ultimately cost Senegal a place in the last 16. Sabaly did not perform badly at Russia 2018, but he was guilty of being a regular in a defence which didn’t manage a clean sheet.
Others who failed to impress
Keita Balde – Had only 80 minutes of action against Colombia but failed to make an impact on the game and was replaced by Moussa Konate.
Kalidou Koulibaly – The powerhouse defender didn’t dominate quite as he does for Napoli in Serie A and will reflect on a disappointing showing in Russia.
Mame Biram Diouf – Always goes above and beyond the call of duty in terms of effort, but too often Diouf was unable to deliver a cutting edge in the final third of the field.