The United States of America (USA), England, Senegal and Netherlands have qualified for the Round of 16.
Senegal defeated Ecuador 2-1 in their final Group A game yesterday to advance to the knockout stages of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar, for only the second time in their history.
Ismaila Sarr’s penalty was cancelled out by Moses Caicedo, but Kalidou Koulibaly’s magnificent reaction and powerful finish from a corner two and a half minutes later ensured an immediate response from Africa’s champions.
Cisse made another tactical shift to his side before the Ecuador meeting, again mixing things up after having shuffled his pack for the second group game against Qatar.
He plumped for a sole striker—Boulaye Dia—returning to the midfield three that has become a staple of the side’s greatest successes under Ciss.
Cheikhou Kouyate lost his place for the Qatar game, and here it was Nampalys Mendy who stepped out of the side, with Pathe Ciss partnering Pape Gueye and Idrissa Gana Gueye in midfield.
Senegal managed to drop into an effective block when Ecuador had possession, and—particularly with danger out wide—posed a constant threat in possession.
Meanwhile, Cody Gakpo netted his third goal in three games as the Netherlands comfortably beat World Cup hosts Qatar 2-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium to secure top spot in Group A and advance to the knockout stages.
The Dutch, who finished with seven points from their three group games, are joined in the last 16 with Senegal, who knocked out Ecuador by beating them 2-1 to end up second on six points.
The Qataris had been eliminated after their 3-1 loss to Senegal and despite huge investment in state-of-the-art facilities to host the World Cup, they came up short again on the pitch.
They were not without their moments in a dull first half, forcing a couple of corners and threatening on the edge of the Dutch area, but no sooner had they bared their teeth than they were hit with a gut-punch of a goal by Gakpo.
With Qatar lacking the quality to mount a comeback, the Dutch had a goal ruled out after Gakpo was judged to have handled the ball in the build-up, but they still coasted to victory.
Asian champions Qatar will go back to the role of tournament hosts and plotting the future of the game in their country.
Poland v Argentina (4:00pm)
Saudi Arabia v Mexico (4:00pm)
Tunisia v France (8:00pm)
Australia v Denmark (8:00pm)
Qatar 0-2 Netherland
Ecuador 1-2 Senegal
England 3-0 Wales
Irans 0-1 USA