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U-20 World Cup: Nigeria, Gambia outshine African champions Senegal

SENEGAL, who won all their matches on the way to lifting the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in March, have disappointed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In contrast, two of the teams they beat in Egypt during the continental competition are thriving in Argentina.

Gambia, who lost to Senegal in the African final, and Nigeria, beaten by the Young Lions in the group stages in Egypt, are both through to the round of 16 in Argentina.

Unlike their fellow West Africans, Senegal have failed woefully on the global stage, failing to win any of their three group games to crash out early.

Nigeria and Gambia survived tough groups to advance to the round of 16. The Flying Eagles secured victories against Dominican Republic and Italy in Group D to get six points, which were enough to take them through despite last night’s defeat to perennial nemesis Brazil.

Gambia too earned a knockout rounds ticket with a game to spare, beating favourites France and Honduras. Whatever the result of their final Group F fixture against South Korea tonight, the Young Scorpions cannot finish lower than second place.

For Senegal, after just one point from their first two games against Japan (1-0 loss) and Israel (1-1), the African champions needed to beat Colombia last night to progress from Group C.

The Young Lions took a first-half lead through Mamadou Camara and looked to be heading in the right direction until Oscar Cortes struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to break their hearts.

With two points, Senegal finished bottom of the group and will be heading back home instead of to the round of 16.

Even Tunisia, the team that finished fourth at AFCON, can squeeze through to the round of 16 if they secure a draw with Uruguay tonight.

The North Africans are currently third in Group E with three points from two games and one more point will send them to the knockout rounds.

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Naija Times