Stoke City forward Mame Biram Diouf, who has won 50 caps for Senegal and scored 10 goals for his country, has also played for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson and for Bundesliga club Hannover 96.
In the 2017-2018 season, Diouf netted six times in 37 appearances for the Potters. The Senegalese forward has also scored 24 times in 133 games during his time in Stoke-on-Trent.
Diouf’s Senegal started their FIFA World Cup 2018 Group H opener with a positive 2-1 win against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland. The Senegalese side was subsequently edged out in a 2-1 loss to Japan in their second FIFA World Cup Group H match.
However, Diouf’s Senegal play Colombia today in a highly decisive group game to determine Senegal’s advancement into the final sixteen of FIFA World Cup 2018.
Dean Perretta: First and foremost Mame, what are your overall thoughts on Senegal’s performance today against Japan ?
Mame Biram Diouf: We didn’t show our best face on this game. There is a disappointment because the team could do better. But there is also positive points because, despite our performance, we find the resources not to lose. The draw and the goal conceded are disappointing, but maybe this point will make the difference after the game against Colombia.
Perretta: Senegal now faces Colombia in their final FIFA World Cup 2018 group game. Which areas of the game do you feel Senegal have the distinct advantage against the Colombians?
Diouf: We watched their game against Poland. They are very fast on the sides with (Juan) Cuadrado and James (Rodriguez). We’ll have to be focused not to be surprised in defense. (Radamel) Falcao is always a danger for any defense.
Colombia has Falcao, Senegal has Kalidou (Koulibaly) and Salif (Sané). But we’ll play to cause them problems because we have quality players also in our team with Sadio (Mané), M’Baye (Niang) or Ismaïla (Sarr). They must fear us.
Perretta: How would you describe the atmosphere and spirit overall within Senegal’s FIFA World Cup 2018 training camp?
Diouf: Everything’s going really well. Since the training camp in Senegal, we are all well. We had the support of all the fans in Dakar, then here too. It’s going well.
In Kaluga, Russian people support us. It’s a pleasure. Our team is a real family, everyone is concerned and we are united.
Perretta: Before we leave Mame, what are the expectations now for Senegal in the tournament based on what the team has displayed thus far in Russia?
Diouf: The goal is simple: go as far as possible. Everyone compares us to the 2002 generation, but we want to write our own history. There are a lot of quality players in our team, and we want to go through the group stage, and then we’ll see.
If we qualify, we’ll have to face Belgium or England, and we now know that this World Cup has a lot of surprises. Nothing is impossible. We are not afraid.
More FIFA World Cup predictions at Doc’s Sports.
(Photo Credit: Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)