World’s Best Goalkeeper Édouard Mendy has already conquered Europe, he has already conquered Africa, and in November, he will get a chance to conquer the World properly as well. He’s of course already conquered the (Club) World just the other week, but with Senegal confirming their place at the 2022 World Cup last night, Mendy will get a chance to make history at the
summer winter showpiece in Qatar later this year as well.
No African nation has ever won the World Cup — Senegal have gone furthest in fact, the 2002 quarterfinals (just as Cameroon in 1990 did and Ghana in 2010 would do) — but a team featuring the talents of Sadio Mané in attack, Kalidou Koulibaly in defense, Gana Gueye in midfield, and of course Mendy in goal just might be able to beat that record.
To reach their second successive World Cup, Senegal had to overcome Egypt in the two-legged qualifying finals and would eventually do so on penalties, just as they did at the Africa Cup of Nations final less than two months ago. Senegal had lost the first leg last week, 1-0, on an early own goal, but would win the second leg, 1-0, on an early goal, and then seal the victory with a 3-1 score in the shootout.
Édouard Mendy saved one in the Afcon final shootout, and did so here as well, with Egypt also missing the goal entirely on two occasions amid a ridiculous hail of laser pointers.
The other four qualifiers from Africa to the World Cup include Ghana who beat Nigeria on away goals, Cameroon who beat Algeria on a last-gasp goal in extra-time, Tunisia who edged past Mali, and Morocco who easily took care of business against DR Congo even without Hakim Ziyech.
Meanwhile in Europe, there was plenty of action on Tuesday as well, most of it ultimately a lot less meaningful, though we did see Antonio Rüdiger collect his 50th cap for Germany and Michy Batshuayi and Marcos Alonso both grab assists for their countries. Alonso got two in fact, and in just the span of about ten minutes, as Spain ran over Iceland, 5-0. Azpilicueta also played, extending his appearance streak for the national team to 13 games.
Mateo Kovačić (Croatia), Armando Broja (Albania), Ethan Ampadu (Wales), Timo Werner and Kai Havertz (Germany), N’Golo Kanté (France), Conor Gallagher (England), and Billy Gilmour (Scotland) all saw action as well, but at least Thiago Silva got to rest his weary legs in an easy 4-0 win for Brazil over Bolivia.
The only player left in international action this week is Christian Pulisic, with the US Men’s National Team playing their last qualifier against Costa Rica, away, tonight (Wednesday). The US would have to lose by six (6!) goals to drop into the intercontinental playoffs from a guaranteed spot at the World Cup.