The Teranga Lions of Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly has urged his younger teammates to step up in their next match against 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar in an effort to give the African champions’ a chance at progressing in the tournament.
Despite losing to the Netherlands 2-0 to open their Group A campaign on Monday, Koulibaly claimed he still believes Senegal can move on to the next round.
“We are still determined because we know that there is something that we can still achieve during this World Cup and we still believe in our chances,” he told reporters.
“Our young players will have to show themselves during the next two games. They have to be on their best form to be able to produce in a big match that we have next against Qatar.”
After losing their opening Group A matches, the two continental champions will face off at the Al Thumama Stadium on Friday. Ecuador defeated Qatar 2-0, and Koulibaly claimed that Senegal’s late goals against the Dutch was the result of “little details” that cost them the game.
“We should have drawn against the Netherlands team. We knew it was going to be decided by the little details. When we lost Cheikhou Kouyaté to injury, it was difficult. Losing players like that in the middle of a match is a bit tough.
“However, we tried to play our football. It’s a shame we couldn’t score that first goal because we had chances. Now we have two finals to play. We are going to give everything against Qatar to be able to play a decider against Ecuador,” the 31-year-old Chelsea defender added.
“I think that in defence, we were solid. We showed some good things and the 2-0 scoreline did not reflect the game. But at top-level football it’s like that.”
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