Senegal and the Netherlands qualified world Cup playoffs from Group A on Tuesday in Qatar 2022.
The Netherlands were given a comfortable 2-0 victory over host country Qatar to qualify for the round of 16, while Senegal beat Ecuador 2-1 for a hard-earned victory.
In a tight game that Senegal should have won, the Lions of Teranga took the lead with Ismaila Sarra’s penalty conversion before Moises Caicedo equalized with Ecuador in the second half.
But the African Cup of Nations champion reacted immediately when captain Kalidou Koulibaly fired a free-kick into the box.
Ecuador insisted on a comparative score that would be visible El Tree qualified ahead of Senegal, but Koulibaly’s strike proved decisive, securing his team’s first World Cup play-offs since 2002.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game against a very good team,” Koulibaly told beIN Sports. “We wanted to make history for our country and today we had a lot of determination to win this game and we won it – we can be happy.”
It was a tough campaign for Senegal after injuries to Sadio Mane before the tournament and Cheichou Kouyate during the first game.
After losing the first match against the Netherlands, Aliou Cisse’s team responded with back-to-back victories over Qatar and Ecuador.
Senegal players added emotions: on Tuesday it was two years since the death Papa Bouba DiopVersatile midfielder with 63 caps for Senegal.
“This game is for Sadio and also for Papa Buba Diop… We wanted to do something special and today we can be happy,” Koulibaly added.
The result means the Netherlands and Senegal will join Brazil, France and Portugal as the first five teams to qualify from the group stage.
With Qatar losing two World Cup games ahead of Tuesday’s match, the Netherlands’ place in the round of 16 seemed like a formality – and it turned out to be.
Orange The scoring was opened in the 26th minute thanks to a deft pass between Davy Klaassen, Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo, who landed a superb low shot from the edge of the box.
Frenkie de Jong doubled the lead for the Dutch right after the break, activating after Depay’s first shot landed in the midfielder’s path.
It has been a complete performance for the Netherlands, who will now take on the second-placed team from Group B, who are full of confidence after only conceding one goal so far in Qatar 2022.
Meanwhile, Qatar ends their campaign without a win – the only team to ever host a World Cup and not score a single point in the group stages.