Cisse declares Senegal ready for Lewandowski and Poland in World Cup opener

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Teranga Lions coach Aliou Cisse previews Tuesday's Group H clash with the White and Reds

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse is looking to exploit "some defensive weaknesses" of Poland in their World Cup opener on Tuesday. 

The Teranga Lions are set for their first match at the global showpiece since 2002, when they face the White and Reds in a Group H fixture at Otkritie Arena in Moscow. 

Following defeats of all three African sides (Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria) to have played at Russia so far, there seems to be some pressure on Senegal, as well as Tunisia, who face England on Monday, to make amends. 

"Everyone knows the first game is important, even if it's not decisive," Cisse said at the pre-match presser on Monday. 

"We are raring to go and to get a result against Poland that have very good individual qualities but some defensive weaknesses. 

"It should be a nice game.

"There's no additional pressure [after the losses of Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria]. There is no pressure whatsoever on us.

"We have things to show, we have a past.

"We have been together for the past three years. We've worked hard to get here. We deserve to be here. We want to show an outstanding team."

For Senegal to come up tops, they will have to control the challenge of in-form Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who is expected to lead the Poles' attack. 

"We talk a lot about individuals more than the team," Cisse remarked. 

"Lewandowski, everyone knows him. He's a world class player but Poland are a competitive team, a winning team.

"They have teamwork, it’s a real team, with other players that can play just as well, [and] can make the difference at any moment. 

"We don’t have a particular plan against Lewandowski. We have a collective plan to beat Poland."

Following an impressive World Cup debut that saw them Senegal reach the quarter-finals, there have predictably been a lot comparisons about the El-Hadji Diouf led team of 2002 and the current set-up spearheaded by Liverpool ace Sadio Mane. 

"People want to compare 2002 and 2018 but mentalities have changed, education has changed [and] the way people think has changed," said, Cisse. 

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"The 2002 team gave a lot of joy to the country and the current team will do the same thing. I fully trust them."

Japan and Colombia are the other teams of Group H. 

 

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