With the Three Lions set to take on the Lions of Teranga tonight, Senegal supporters have prepared by performing traditional dances in central Doha and singing their own version of ‘It’s Coming Home.’
Around 7,000 England football fans are expected in Doha for Sunday night’s clash at the Al Bayt stadium, with tickets exchanging hands on the black market for upto £1,000.
Dozens of supporters of the West African country staged a Sanbar dance, which is performed for good luck ahead of major events.
Senegal’s fans are known as the ’12th man’ because of their vociferous and colourful support of the team, who are nicknamed ‘The Lions of Teranga.’
England fans in the Souq area of Doha today, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar
England fan Tim Reed, from Ipswich, Suffolk, said ahead of today’s clash with Senegal in Qatar that he thinks England will win 2-1
England fans visit the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar tonight
England fans Hayden Smith and Joe Parker, from Essex, enjoy a drink at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar tonight
Antonia Seck, 26 from Dakar said: ‘We’re getting ready for the big game in the same way we would prepare for a wedding or any other celebration. That’s because after the match against England, we will be celebrating.’
Her friend Georgia Diop, 28 added: ‘We love to dance and sing in Senegal. It’s going to be a great game and we will win.’
Ahead of the match, Senegalese fans sang the team’s anthem in their native Wolof language, which boasts that ‘Senegal are the champions’ and that the ‘trophy is going back to Senegal.’
Cheikh Diop, a Senegal fan who admitted that he also closely followed English Premier League football, said: ‘We have our version of It’s Coming Home. But I can tell you it’s definitely coming home to West Africa.
‘This is our song for the team. We’re feeling very confident about this match. Senegal are going on a great adventure and the world is about to see what a great football team we are.’
The UK ambassador to Senegal said the two nations are united in their ‘passion for football’, describing the African country as ‘about as football mad, if not more, than the UK is’.
Fans with British and Senegal flags are seen in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal tonight
England fans hold a Stockport County flag, in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal tonight
Hays and Max Ash are pictured at the Doha Corniche ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar tonight
England fans Lee Goulthorp, 40, Phil Goulthorp, 70, and Matt Barnes, 33, from Portsmouth party in the Cabana Hop Garden Doha, Qatar ahead of tonight’s game
Meanwhile, England fans started gathering early in bars located within Doha’s four and five star hotels as they knocked back the pints in preparation for the last 16 knockout clash, while others hit the city’s malls for some shopping – and to enjoy the air conditioning.
Tim Reed, 63, from Ipswich, Suffolk, said: ‘We’re going to win 2-1. I’m really looking forward to the match and am getting very excited about it.
‘The only problem is that I’m supposed to fly home after the game, so if England do get to the quarter-finals I might have to fly back. It’s been a fantastic tournament so far and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.’
Kevin Cassidy, 43, from Leeds, said: ‘I follow England all over the world and at last we’re looking like a team that can win something. We’ve come close recently but this time I think we’re going to do it.
‘My prediction is a 2-1 victory. But whatever happens, it’s been a fantastic experience being in Qatar. I’ve loved every minute of it.’
His friend Darren Sutcliffe, 55, also from Leeds, added: ‘I’m not feeling as confident as some of the other England fans but I think we’ll win on penalties.
‘There’s not going to be as many England fans in the ground as there normally are at big games, so it’s going to feel a bit strange. But I’m praying that it’s going to be a great night.’
Among the fans were Molly Burns and her mother Nikki. But there is a family division in the lead up to tonight’s big match.
Mother Nikki (right) and daughter Nikki (left) are seen in the fan zone. Molly is supporting England tonight while her mother Nikki is married to one of the host nation Qatar’s coaches
England fans Simon and John Hatter, from Nottingham, prepare for tonight’s game, at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, Qatar
England fans are seen in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on December 4, 2022
Molly, 21, from Leeds, is supporting England, while her mother has given up on football, as she is married to one of the Qatar team’s national coaches.
The host nation was dumped out in the group stage.
Mrs Burns said: ‘Happy husband, happy family, happy football. I support Qatar.
‘It’s a shame that Qatar got knocked out, but it’s a wonderful tournament that’s going really well. ‘
Molly added: ‘ I think England will win. Harry Kane will score his first goal and we’ll go all the way to the final.
‘The team have been progressing quietly, while there’s been so much about countries like Brazil, Argentina, France.
‘This could be our World Cup if we just carry on playing and focusing.’
Hayden Smith, 27, from Essex, told the PA news agency: ‘I’m really nervous for the game. I want to get it done, get through to the quarters and beat France as well.’
Joe Parker, 26, also from Essex, who was enjoying a drink with Mr Smith ahead of the match, was more cautious, saying: ‘He thinks 4-0 but I think it’ll go to penalties… I’d be very nervous at that point.’
Spurs fan Mr Smith added: ‘(Harry) Kane hat-trick, watch, he’ll score tonight – everyone is slagging him off but he’s going to get a goal tonight – easy 3-0, 4-0.’
On Senegal, Mr Smith said: ‘I know they’re the champions of Africa but I watched them in the Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) and the group and I don’t think they’re all that, I think we’ll be fine.
‘If we don’t beat them we don’t deserve to go through – what chance have we got against France if we struggle tonight?’
On England’s chances for the rest of the World Cup, the pair both said ‘I think we’re going to win it’.
Friends Tom Egerton and Tom King, both 31 and from Winchester, were dressed in traditional Arab robes as they sampled the atmosphere with other England fans at the Cabana Hop Garden.
England fans Tom Egerton (left) and Tom King (right), raise a toast at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal tonight
England fans Ian Fox (left) and Adam Close (right), get geared up at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal which will be played at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar tonight
Flags from Carlisle to Plymouth and beyond were draped around the venue with a big screen and music playing, including Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Rockin’ All Over the World by Status Quo.
Adam Close, 29, from Newcastle, and Ben Fox, 29, from Leeds, have been in Qatar for a week staying in a fan village and will return home after the Senegal game but consider returning if England reach the World Cup semi-finals.
The pair both predicted an England win, with tech sales worker Mr Close telling PA: ‘It’s not going to be a walk in the park but we should have too much for them.
‘In international football, you saw last night with the Netherlands that if you get an early goal in the first 10-15 minutes you’re killing the games off, you can control the possession.
‘You saw it a bit against Wales when you don’t get a goal, we held possession enough but the fans start getting a bit lairy, they’re not moving it as quickly as you’d like so get a goal in that first 10-15 minutes I think will be good.’
Mr Fox, who works in recruitment, said of England’s World Cup hopes: ‘All the way, I don’t think there’s anyone to fear.’
On the pair’s travel plans, Mr Close said: ‘If we beat Senegal, beat France and I think that’s where we’ll be looking at tickets back out for the semis and final.’
Laughing, he added: ‘If we beat France we’re probably going to be a shoo-in.’
England face Senegal on Sunday night in a last 16 knockout match.
Around 3,000 Senegal fans are expected to be at the game and are likely to be outnumbered by their English rivals.
England fans prepare at the Cabana Hop Garden in Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match between England and Senegal tonight
England fans visit the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar tonight
An England thobe, a type of Arabic dress, is seen for sale at a store in the Souq area of Doha, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar tonight
Souleymane Diallo, 38, a football coach from Dakar, said: ‘I know quite a lot of the players and have been speaking to them on the phone. They’re feeling very confident about this game. The mood amongst the boys is very positive.’
His friend Doudou Mane, 32, added: ‘We won’t have a lot of fans in the stadium but we will make the most noise. Senegal will be victorious.
‘We have a fantastic team and very passionate fans. There are not many of us here but the whole of Senegal is with us.’
He added: ‘My prediction is that Senegal will win 3-1.’
England prepare for battle with Senegal to be World Cup lion kings: From ‘coolest coach’ Aliou Cisse who lost family in ‘Africa’s Titanic’, to star player Koulibaly, who has pizza named after him, everything you need to know about the ‘Lions of Teranga’
By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline
England’s World Cup will continue with a winner takes all clash against Senegal after the Three Lions blew Wales away with a convincing 3-0 victory last night.
And there will be more than just pride at stake when the Battle of the Lions kicks off this Sunday.
England’s reward for topping Group B following victory over Wales last night will be a last-16 knock-out tie with the squad known as the ‘Lions of Teranga’.
The West African side – ranked 18 in the world, one position above Wales – will start the match as underdogs against Gareth Southgate’s men, but they are not without pedigree.
Senegal stunned the world by defeating the-then reigning champions, and former colonisers, France in their 2002 campaign as they hope to take another high-profile scalp this time around.
They also boast the ‘coolest coach’ of the competition who bravely battled through adversity when 11 of his family were killed in a ferry disaster in 2002.
The runners up of Group A are currently enjoying the fruits of a ‘golden generation’ of international stars, with many of their best players plying their trade in top leagues across Europe.
Here, MailOnline details all you need to know about the Three Lions’ next opponent:
Senegal fans are seen inside the stadium before the match during Group A – Ecuador v Senegal – Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar on November 29, 2022
Aliou CISSE, head coach of Senegal, during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Group A match between Ecuador and Senegal at Khalifa International Stadium on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar
Senegal will be hoping their experienced Premier League players, including winger Ismaila Sarr (left) and captain Kalidou Koulibaly can fire them to victory over England
Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye (pictured) will be marshalling the midfield against England
The ‘Lions of Teranga’ will be fired up and hoping to replicate the high-pressure blueprint used by the Americans when they forced England into a drab 0-0 draw – hoping they can use their pacy strikers to nick a goal at the other end.
They have been well supported throughout the tournament, with their passionate fans often daubing themselves in green, red and yellow paint – the colours of their national flag – to roar the squad on.
England will also have to be wary of Senegal’s proud history of overperforming as underdogs in the World Cup.
It was 20 years ago that the West African side staged one of the greatest upsets in footballing history, as the unfancied World Cup debutants defeated then-reigning champions France in the opening match of the 2002 tournament.
They made it to the quarter-finals with a team of relative unknowns, such as El Hadji Diouf, Salif Diao and Papa Bouba Diop, all of whom would soon find themselves playing in the Premier League.
Their captain at that tournament, defender Aliou Cisse, now manages the national team and is known for his dogged tenacity having turned out in the Premier League and for French giants PSG in his playing days.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse celebrates after winning the Africa Cup of Nations on February 6, 2022
11 of Cisse’s relatives, including his sister, boarded the doomed MV Le Joola (pictured) that was bound for Dakar on September 26, 2002
Cisse is a cool character who has delighted fans while patrolling the sidelines with his impressive dreadlocks sneaking out from under his cap – with his luscious locks even earning praise from rapper Snoop Dogg.
But Cisse’s exceptional bravery was revealed to the world after a devastating maritime disaster in 2002 that saw 11 members of his family killed when in a ferry disaster dubbed ‘Africa’s Titanic’.
He had been gearing up for a Premier League match against Newcastle United when his relatives boarded the doomed MV Le Joola bound for Dakar on September 26, 2002.
What else is there to know about Senegal off the football pitch?
Away from football, one of Senegal’s most famous exports is the singer and rapper Akon.
The 49-year-old burst onto the global pop scene in the mid-2000s with ‘Lonely’ – which sampled Bobby Vinton’s ‘Mr Lonely’ – and later enjoyed chart success with singles including ‘Smack That’ and ‘Locked Up’.
French is listed as Senegal’s official language, though the most widely spoken is Wolof.
Its top export is gold, and its capital, Dakar, is the end point for the annual desert rally.
England will be hoping the Lions of Teranga – without talisman striker Sadio Mane through injury – reach the conclusion of their World Cup journey this Sunday.
The ship had been docked for a year for essential maintenance repairs, and had only returned to operation a fortnight before the fatal crossing took place.
Le Joola had an official capacity of 536 passengers, but more than 1,800 boarded and ultimately died when it capsized and sank off the coast of The Gambia amid a heavy storm.
Later inquiries found the vessel had been unbalanced due to poor ballasting and overcrowding.
To make matters worse, Le Joola was not equipped with lifeboats or life jackets and their inadequate radio system ensured no rescue call ever went out.
Just 64 survivors remained and more than 440 children died on what became the second-worst peacetime nautical disaster in history.
Rather than be submerged in his grief, Cisse did not tell his new teammates at Birmingham City FC until after they had played both Newcastle and West Ham a week later.
Explaining how he did not wish to ‘betray his state of mind’ to his new teammates, the steely defender instead rushed back to Dakar to be with his family after the West Ham match.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the accident 20 years prior, he told BBC Sport Africa of his loss: ‘It was a very difficult time.
‘My family really needed me, so I couldn’t be weak – they needed my presence. These were complicated days in a man’s life.
‘We must simply remember our dead and all those families decimated from the fathers down to the grandchildren.’
The entire Senegalese squad will be hoping to channel the resolute temperament of their inspiring coach, after losing their star striker before the World Cup even began.
Their top player, Sadio Mane, cemented his place as one of the world’s deadliest strikers as he helped Liverpool to both domestic and European glory during his six years at the club.
But the Bayern Munich forward and African Player of the Year devastatingly missed out on this year’s World Cup after picking up a knee injury just weeks before the tournament began.
Although they’re missing their talismanic striker, Senegal still have an array of dangerous players who will be well aware of their English counterparts.
In Mane’s stead, captain and new Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly has stepped up and delivered performances that have helped surge the West African squad into the knockout stages.
The centre back, who is known for his tough-tackling and physical presence, was born in France to Senegalese parents, where he grew up playing football barefoot in the street with friends and relatives.
Koulibably’s father worked in a Senegalese textile mill seven days a week for five years so he could save up enough money to move to France. With dual-French eligibility, the defender was capped multiple times for the French U20 team before formally declaring for Senegal in 2015.
Senegal captain and new Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly has stepped up and delivered performances that have helped surge the West African squad into the knockout stages
He will be supported by tricky winger Ismaïla Sarr, who played in the top division with Watford
Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye is pictured with his wife, Pauline
Senegal’s shotstopper Edouard Mendy plays for Chelsea and will be hoping to keep England’s strikers at bay
His club career saw him play in both France and Belgium before settling in at Napoli in 2014, where he forged a hugely successful career and was named an honourary citizen of Naples.
His presence in the Italian side’s defensive line for more than eight years earned him huge praise from the Neapolitans, leading to one local entrepreneur, Simone Ferrante, to name a black olive, crumbled walnut and parmesan flaked pizza after him.
Koulibaly will be supported by Premier League stalwarts Idrissa Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyaté and tricky winger Ismaïla Sarr, who played in the top division with Watford.
He’ll also be working to protect the goal of his Chelsea compatriot Edouard Mendy, who had been the West London side’s goalkeeper until the start of the 2022 season.