Coming of a riveting 3-3 draw in their tournament opener against Ecuador, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team continues play at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Thursday, May 25 as it meets Group F leaders Senegal, who defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in their first match, at Incheon Football Stadium in Incheon, Korea Republic. The middle match of group play will be televised live on FS1, FOX Sports Go and Telemundo En Vivo at 7 a.m. ET.
Here are five things you should know about Senegal:
How They Qualified
Senegal qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup by finishing as the runner-up at the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia. Drawn into Group B, Senegal topped the four-team group to advance to the Semifinals and clinch its spot in the U-20 World Cup. Following a 1-1 draw with Sudan, Les Lions de la Teranga recorded a 4-3 victory against South Africa and a 2-0 win vs. Cameroon to win the group.
- READ MORE: U.S. Wins 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship
In the Semifinals, Senegal collected a 1-0 shutout against Guinea before falling 2-0 to host Zambia in the tournament Final.
U-20 World Cup History
Senegal is making just its second all-time appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and second consecutive following its participation in the most recent edition two years ago.
- READ MORE: U.S. Draws 3-3 With Ecuador to Open 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup
- READ MORE: 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Standings and Schedule
At the 2015 tournament in New Zealand, the Senegalese slipped through the group stage as a third-place qualifier before making a run in the Knockout Round to finish fourth. In the Round of 16, Senegal advanced past Ukraine on penalty kicks, 3-1. After a 1-0 Quarterfinal win against Uzbekistan, Senegal fell 5-0 to Brazil in the semifinals. The Senegalese finished the tournament with a 3-1 loss to regional rival Mali in the Third-Place Match.
A player for the Senegal National Team between 1980-86, Joseph Koto takes charge of the Senegal
U-20 team again after guiding them to its fourth-place finish in 2015. Under Koto’s guidance, Senegal has twice finished as runner-up at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. In 2012, Koto had a brief four-month stint as the head coach of the Senegal Men’s National Team. When describing his coaching style to FIFA.com, Koto described himself as “more as a doting father than a strict disciplinarian. To get results, I start a dialogue and I cajole the players rather than bashing them.”
Memories from Korea
Senegal’s biggest moment as a soccer nation occurred in 2002 when it qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the only time in its history. Like this year’s U-20 World Cup, that tournament took place in Korea Republic. In the tournament’s opening game in Seoul, Senegal stunned the soccer world when they upset defending champion France 1-0 on a first-half goal from Papa Bouba Diop.
Les Lions de la Teranga advanced out of the group and into the Round of 16 where they defeated Sweden 2-1 in extra time. Senegal’s magical World Cup run ended in the Quarterfinals when it fell to 1-0 to Turkey.
Along with 15 players based in Senegal, the roster also features players based in Egypt, France, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Mouhamed Mbaye (FC Porto/POR), Idrissa Ndiaye (Diambars FC/SEN), Lamine Sarr (AS Dakar Sacre Coeur/SEN)
DEFENDERS (8): Souleymane Aw (Excellence Foot/SEN), Moussa Ba (Excellence Foot/SEN), Mamadou Diarra (Generation Foot/SEN), Waly Diouf (Valenciennes FC/FRA), Alioune Gueye (NGB Niarry Tally/SEN), Akhibou Ly (CNEPS Excellence/SEN), Mamadou Mbaye (AS Dakar Sacre Coeur/SEN), Jean Ndecky (Casa Sport/SEN)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Calvin Diagne (Darou Salam-ASMA/SEN), Krepin Diatta (Sarpsborg FK/NOR), Bamba Kane (Diambars FC/SEN), Souleye Sarr (Mbour Petite Cote FC/SEN)
FORWARDS (6): Aliou Badji (Djurgardens IF/SWE), Habib Gueye (Darou Salam-ASMA/SEN), Ibrahima Niane (Generation Foot/SEN), Ibrahima Ndiaye (Wadi Degla FC/EGY), Ousseymou Niang (Diambars FC/SEN), Mouhamed Pouye (Mbour Petite Cote FC/SEN)