Senegal caused a sensation in their first World Cup appearance, although it wasn’t completely unexpected to anybody who had watched them a few months previously in the African Cup of Nations.
In Mali that year, they had made it all the way to the final where they had lost on penalties to Cameroon.
Those performances meant they headed to Japan/Korea full of optimism and confident of springing a surprise or two.
And so it proved when they opened the tournament with a stunning 1-0 win over World and European champions France. In their next match they earned a valuable draw against Denmark, which meant they just required a point from their final game against Uruguay.
In a remarkable match, Senegal led 3-0 at half-time and appeared to be heading through as group winners. However Uruguay produced a stunning comeback and a 3-3 draw coupled with Denmark beating France left Senegal in second place and a last 16 clash against Sweden — who had sprung a surprise themselves by finishing above England and Argentina.
Sweden came flying out of the blocks and were soon leading 1-0 via a Henrik Larsson header from a corner. Senegal hit back quickly and had a goal disallowed.
Senegal find a deserved equaliser just before half-time through Henri Camara’s fine control and finish…
What Happened Next?
Senegal advanced to the quarter finals thanks to another Henri Camara goal, this time it was a Golden one in extra-time — a quite brilliant move, too. They became only the second African nation ever to reach the last eight.
That would prove to be the end of their journey though, as they failed to get past Turkey in the quarter finals falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat where they put in a rather lacklustre display.
Senegal failed to qualify for the next three editions of the tournament, but they will be in Russia this year. They kick off against Poland on the 19th June.
Camara’s performances earned him a move to the Premier League a year later when he joined newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2003.