France stride into semis
France overcame Senegal 6-3 in their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
quarter-final to set up a mouth-watering showdown with Brazil in
the last four.
They wasted no time going about their task either, taking the lead after just 24 seconds when Sebastien Perez beat Al Seyni Ndi from a free-kick. It was the perfect way for Perez to demonstrate he deserved the captain's armband, with regular captain Jeremy Basquaise suspended.
A second goal from Thierry Ottavy put Les Bleus in a strong position two minutes later, and although Mamadou Diallo and Gomis Mbengue tested Jean-Marie Aubry at the other end, the goalkeeper kept them at bay with ease. The Lions of Teranga were clearly missing top-scorer Pape Koukpaki, especially in free-kick situations, and when the buzzer ended the opening period the French had a deserved two-goal lead.
Just as they had done against Argentina, however, they carelessly let their opponents back into the game. Alassane Thiaw struck from a free-kick and Malick Dieng headed in to rock the Europeans, with Aubry then needing to be alert to keep the scores level. France went back ahead through Tony Ruggeri and Didier Samoun threatened to extend their lead, but Thiaw defended well to keep Senegal in the encounter as the match headed down the final stretch.
There was a real blow for France at the start of the final
period when Jean Saidou had to be taken off on a stretcher
following a clash with Diallo, who received a red card for the
incident. That put the Africans a man down, but they rallied well
and drew level courtesy of Gomis Mbengue, before Stephane Francois
and Gregory Tanagro gave the French some breathing space.
With their tournament hopes slipping away, the Africans gave everything in the last five minutes and were only denied by some excellent defending from Eric Cantona's men. Francois even managed to score his team's sixth to guarantee victory and send France through. Beaten, Senegal go home with their heads held high.