Idrissa Gana Gueye believes Senegal can progress despite facing England

Idrissa Gana Gueye has said there are no limits for Senegal in Qatar and the African champions’ ambitions must stretch beyond reaching the last 16 of the World Cup.

Senegal face England at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday having qualified for the World Cup knockout stage for the second time in their history via their win against Ecuador on Tuesday.

Senegal’s best performance at a World Cup came in 2002, when they reached the quarter-finals with a team featuring their current manager, Aliou Cissé. In a year when the Lions of Teranga have won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, Gueye says Senegal can again reach the last eight.

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Before England were confirmed as Senegal’s next opponents Gueye said: “The last 16 is not the objective. We see beyond that. We have no limits. We have to keep our feet on the ground, not get carried away, and stay focused from the start to the end. We have a squad to go far. We’re not going to fix any limits because if we play like we did against Ecuador we can do something really interesting in this competition.”

Gueye is suspended for the England game after two bookings in the group stage, preventing – or postponing – his 100th cap for Senegal. “I’m really disappointed but I’m happy for the team,” he said. “I’m just hoping they can do the job and I can play in the quarter-finals. We keep saying that we need the whole squad and we can only do this all together.

“We have a big experience in the Afcon and, in that sort of competition, you need everybody, not just 11 or 12. It is 26 players and everybody has to be committed.”


Senegal’s captain, Kalidou Koulibaly, whose first international goal ensured his country pipped Ecuador to second place in Group A, said they fear no one at the World Cup. “This is only the beginning,” the Chelsea defender said. “Don’t party, don’t be happy.

“We did something good but it’s only the beginning. We are Senegal, we fear no one. Senegal are better when they have their backs against the wall. There are a lot of teams that don’t want to play against us.”