Mane, right place, right time to edge Senegal ahead

Danny Woods
June 24, 2018

The country first qualified for the sport's marquee tournament in 1998 and hasn't missed a World Cup since, reaching the round of 16 in 2002 and 2010.

Four years later, in South Korea and Japan, the African representatives started the adventure with a bang as the Lions of Teranga defeated the then defending champions, France, 1-0 in the opening match of the World Cup finals.

Sunday's game at a pulsating Nizhny Novgorod stadium left the shell-shocked Central Americans out of their debut tournament with nine goals conceded. Livewire forward Mane is Senegal's prime dangerman, but it was the raw pace and power of Mbaye Niang and a mistake by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny that clinched victory on Tuesday after Thiago Cionek's own goal put the Africans ahead.

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After all the furore about Southgate's line-up being leaked by the media earlier in the week, reports on Sunday suggest Raheem Sterling will keep his place in the side, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming in to replace the injured Dele Alli.

A win for England would see them head into a final group game against Belgium to determine who finishes top.

Lingard made it 3-0 in the 36th minute with a lovely strike from just outside the area before Stones nodded in his second and England's fourth from a cleverly worked free kick routine.

World Cup holders Germany were breathing a sigh of relief after Toni Kroos' 95th minute missile of a free kick secured a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden on a dramatic Saturday night in Sochi and meant they avoided a humiliating first-round exit.

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"(Winning against Colombia) doesn't give us any advantages.

Defender Mats Hummels said Kroos' goal could be a turning point.

"When we get possession we need to make faster decisions".

The two will be at close quarters come matchday and Mane said: "I know him very well, we played and trained together at Southampton and we used to chat together at the gym".

We should have played sharper. The main event will be Poland versus Colombia, where both teams need a win to bounce back to stay alive. And, overall in the first half, we showed character and ambition.

And after having to make do with a spot on the bench against Japan due to an injury, James Rodriguez is likely to be welcomed back into the starting XI by Pekerman in a significant boost to Colombia's chances.

Lewandowski, who was in fine form during the qualifying campaign, will be hoping to lead from the front as Poland face a must-win situation in Kazan. "I treat all games seriously", he said, according to fifa.com.

"We've had to finetune a few little details, but he's been working hard in recent days and we're hoping he'll be 100%".

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