This summer’s World Cup in Russia will mark only a second appearance for Senegal, who made quite an impression in their maiden run in 2002.
Drawn in the same group as holders France, the African side recorded a 1-0 in the tournament’s opening game, a result which was pivotal in their qualification for the knockout stages as well as setting the tone for a limp France elimination.
Like Denmark in 1986, Senegal wore four different combinations but they played five games, one more than the Danes, and it’s perhaps greedy of us to have wanted a socks-switch to maintain the 1.0 ratio.
While adidas and Nike were exploring new avenues in terms of dual-layered shirts, Senegal’s look rather dated in comparison. Differing slightly from the jerseys worn as they reached the final of the African Cup of Nations earlier in the year, the design was still quite pleasing – we’ve always liked solid blocks of colour – and allowed for transferability in terms of change kits.
We think that all-white was the first-choice look, with the away shorts used against France, who were in their usual (at the time, anyway) blue-white-red. Papa Bouba Diop scored the only goal in a famous win.
The white shorts appeared in the second game against Denmark, who were in all-red. Salif Diao’s second-half equaliser earned Senegal a 1-1 draw, putting themselves in charge of their destiny ahead of the final group game, against Uruguay.
FIFA considered sky blue and white too similar to be used against each other, so for this game, a 3-3 draw which ensured Senegal’s progression, they were in all-green.
Five points was good enough for second place in Group A, with Denmark finishing top after beating France in the last game. It meant a last-16 clash with Sweden, who topped Group F, and another different combination.
While the green shirts were used again – white v yellow isn’t favoured by FIFA either, but it was allowed in that year’s final – they were paired with the white shorts.
After the game finished 1-1, extra time was needed, with Henri Camara scoring a 104th-minute winner to send Senegal to the quarter-finals.
The last-eight opponents were Turkey, who changed to all-red as Senegal wore all-white, repeating a combination for the only time. Unfortunately for them, that’s where the adventure ended – it was another game that went to extra time but Turkey’s Ilhan got the crucial goal.
It has taken 16 years for Senegal to make it back to a World Cup – we’ll be following their kit-selections with interest.