It would be hard to imagine a better scenario for the 31-year-old defender playing for Chelsea in the Premier League.
We knew Senegal capable of coming to mix the cards, but a doubt had settled in the minds of some when the top scorer in the history of the country, Sadio Mané, had to forfeit.
Behind the brilliance of Koulibaly and his teammates, there is also the magic of coach Aliou Cissé. Since arriving at the helm of the team in 2015, Senegal has accumulated success. And once again, since the start of this World Cup, the tactical choices of the former player have been praised.
Senegal find themselves in the round of 16 only for the third time in their history. Against England, he will try to repeat the feat of 2002. He then made it to the quarters. He had beaten Sweden 2-1 thanks to Henri Camara.
The other Camara, Hassoun, had predicted in the Tellement Soccer podcast, even before the start of the tournament, that Senegal would cause a surprise. He may not be wrong after all. Who will be able to stop the Lions of the Teranga?
Rashford and Foden ensure
After the draw against the United States, England coach Gareth Southgate was roundly criticized by fans and analysts. He was blamed, in particular, for his decision to have kept the young 22-year-old prodigy Phil Foden on the bench.
For this last match in the group stage, Southgate had chosen to make some changes to its formation. Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling gave way to Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford.
The two young players offered additional arguments to the coach’s detractors.
Foden, who is considered one of the best young midfielders, scored his first goal at this World Cup.
Rashford meanwhile netted a brace and now has three goals on the clock, despite not having started in his country’s first two games. He even allowed himself a double toilet – a double small bridge, some would say – on his second goal and came very close to achieving a hat trick.
Will that be enough to convince Southgate to change their game plan ahead of the Round of 16? It is permissible to doubt it.
So it’s the end for Wales and for Gareth Bale. Just a few weeks ago, the captain played heroes for Los Angeles FC in the MLS Cup final. This time, he will not have succeeded in repeating the feat. If he couldn’t celebrate his triumph before leaving for Qatar, he will now have plenty of time.
Pulisic and the United States suffer
Iran had an inspired performance against Wales by winning 2-0, but this masterful victory left its mark.
In a fiercely contested match, Christian Pulisic came to settle the debate. In the 38th minute, the Chelsea player put his body at the service of his team. He scored the goal that would become the winning goal, but he was injured on the streak. He had to give up his place at halftime.
The Americans seemed to suffer, especially late in the game, but still managed to pull through. The match against the Welsh still in the legs, the Iranians were brave, fighting body and soul until the final whistle.
Wounded in the abdomen, Pulisic was taken to hospital. If he is not able to play in the round of 16, it would be a heavy loss for the Americans who will have the colossal task of defeating the Netherlands.