Diouf claims Senegal will win easy if England clash goes to penalties

England train ahead of Senegal clash

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Senegal assistant coach El Hadji Diouf claims his team will win “easy” if Sunday’s World Cup round of 16 tie against England goes to penalties. The African side are underdogs heading into the match but former Liverpool and Bolton star Diouf is confident they can cause an upset.

Senegal beat Ecuador on Tuesday to finish second in Group A in Qatar. Their victory set up a clash against Gareth Southgate’s England after they topped Group B.

The Three Lions have never played Senegal in a men’s international match. But they have several familiar players in their squad.

Chelsea duo Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly, and Watford star Ismaila Sarr, are all set to start. They will be without the suspended Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye, while Sadio Mane is out of the tournament through injury.

But Diouf, who was part of the Senegal side that famously beat France at the 2002 World Cup, still believes they have enough to beat England. He told reporters: “I never say Senegal can’t win. It reminds me of when we played against France: they win the game before they play it and I think England today do the same thing, which is good for us.

“We don’t have anything to show the world. If you see our squad, we have Edouard Mendy, we have Kalidou Koulibaly, we have a lot of good players in England. Some play in the Championship but they are really Premier League players, like Ismaila Sarr.

“It’s for them to show how good they are. It is a wonderful draw — who would not want to play this game?

“The players are excited. Talking to the boys it’s about big games, big players, they have to show how good they are.

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“And definitely, this game is going to be very exciting because England have a good team, good players. I know we are not the favourites but we are going to do everything to beat them and the players can do it.”

If the match is level at 90 minutes, there will be a period of extra-time before the potential lottery of penalties. England won their last World Cup shootout against Colombia four years ago but Diouf is adamant his side will have the edge.

He added: “We are always going to win on penalties. If we get to penalties we’re going to win it. Easy. I know the goalkeeper we’ve got [Mendy] and I know we can stop some of their penalties.”

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