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'Senegal made to pay for mistakes against physical England side' - Cisse after World Cup exit

7:49 AM WAT 05/12/2022
ALIOU CISSE SENEGAL
Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse rued his side's defensive lapses after the team's defeat to England in Sunday's 2022 World Cup Round of 16 clash.
  • Lions of Teranga dominated by physical Three Lions side
  • Cisse bemoaned his side's missed chances in the first half
  • Former Senegal captain also promised his side will improve

WHAT HAPPENED? Goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka earned the Three Lions a comprehensive 3-0 victory over the Lions of Teranga at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
Therefore, the African champions, who were missing two influential midfielders in Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gueye due to injuries, bowed out of the prestigious football tournament.
Cisse admitted there had been a gulf in quality between the two teams, but he promised that his side will come back improved at the 2026 World Cup finals which will be co-hosted by Canada, USA and Mexico. 

WHAT DID CISSE SAY?: "A match lasts 90 minutes and in the first half we played pretty well and created chances but unfortunately we didn't score," Cisse told the media.

"We were playing a very good England team and we saw that in their challenges, their physical strength. We weren't as good as we should have been.

"Senegal's strength before the World Cup was our defensive set-up. The fact we have let in a lot of goals at this tournament is difficult to explain. We are going to have to look at that," the retired defensive midfielder continued.

"You pay for any mistake you make at the World Cup because of the calibre of the teams.

"We have worked for years to be the best in Africa but we were facing one of the top five teams in the world and we saw the difference tonight.

"We have been trying hard to reach this level and we need to continue to ensure that at the next World Cup we can play better against a team of this calibre."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Senegal, who were without their star player Sadio Mane in Qatar, will now focus on their 2023 Afcon qualifying campaign.
The Lions of Teranga are enjoying an impressive 22-man unbeaten run in Afcon qualifiers and they are currently placed at the top of their qualifying group, Group L with six points from two matches.
Cisse is expected to guide the West African giants to the finals which will be hosted by Ivory Coast and go on to retain the trophy.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SENEGAL?: The Lions of Teranga will lock horns with Mozambique in the 2023 Afcon qualifiers in March next year.
Cisse's side is scheduled to play host to the Mambas, before travelling to Maputo to face the same team eight days later.