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We can't fall asleep against Poland, Senegal skipper Kouyate speaks on World Cup opener

10:02 BST 19/06/2018
Senegal captain Cheikhou Kouyate after a match against South Africa
The West Ham ace looks ahead to his country's first game at the global showpiece against Poland on Tuesday

Senegal captain Cheikhou Kouyate says the Teranga Lions are braced up for their World Cup opener against Poland on Tuesday. 

At Otkritie Arena in Moscow, Aliou Cisse's outfit will face the White and Reds in Group H, which also features Japan and Colombia

The game will mark the West Africans' return to the global gathering since making their debut in 2002.

“We’ve worked very hard for the last two to three weeks to prepare for the tournament," said, West Ham midfielder Kouyate.

"The last couple of weeks have been particularly intense, our coach has made us work very, very hard! 

"The team is ready. We are fully prepared to play this game against Poland.

“We have to play as usual and we have to enjoy it. 

"The team and myself are fully ready because this is a World Cup. We can’t fall asleep."

It has not been the best of tournaments for Africa in Russia thus far. 

Egypt fell to a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Saturday, moments before Morocco lost to Iran by the same score. 

Nigeria were the next to take on the challenge, their effort ending in a 2-0 reversal to Croatia on Sunday. 

Tunisia's 2-1 slump to England on Monday is the latest setback in the continent's bag of disappointment. 

“Yes, a number of African teams have lost their opening matches, but this doesn’t mean there is more pressure on us," Kouyate remarked. 

"This is the Senegalese team, we have done a lot of work in the last few weeks and today is going to be the most important game for us. 

"It is going to be the first final.”

The Teranga Lions will face Japan in their second game on June 24 before wrapping up the group series against Colombia four days later.