The Senegalese players and fans were celebrating with all the gusto that you might expect for one of the greatest results in their history but it was the contrast with their manager, Aliou Cisse, which felt most significant. He simply strolled towards the beaten Poland manager Adam Nawalka and offered his hand, before calmly heading towards the tunnel in the most business-like of ways. Yes, he did reappear a few moments later to acknowledge, with a tap towards his heart, those Senegalese fans who were joyously dancing in the aisles but the overall message was clear.
In Cisse’s mind, this was no great surprise and he is planning for Senegal’s World Cup to be about much more than simply becoming the first African team to win so far this summer in Russia following defeats already for Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria and Tunisia.
“We managed to control the game tactically and emotionally - that is very important,” said Cisse. “We are not too euphoric; we have highs, lows and we are not going to jump up and down. We need to stay humble.”
Such measured leadership should not be mistaken for a lack of emotion. Cisse broke down in front of his squad earlier in the week, such was the importance for him of again leading his country on world football’s biggest stage after he had previously been the captain when they reached the 2002 quarter-final.
The only black manager in the tournament, he is also continuing to serve as a wonderful example to other emerging African coaches. “Senegal are proud to represent the whole continent,” he said. Good planning, tactical discipline, the presence of Sadio Mane and two fairly freakish goals ultimately settled this for Senegal.
The first deflected off both Michal Pazdam and Thiago Cionek before going in, while the second was controversially gifted to Mbaye Niang. The Senegal striker had left the pitch for treatment and was then waved on by the fourth official just as Grzegorz Krychowiak hooked a ball back to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. Niang sprinted on from the side of the pitch and reached the ball ahead of Szczesny, who had left his goal in an attempt to negate the danger, before tapping the ball into an empty net.
Niang later stressed that the need for treatment had been genuine and his intention innocent but it had clearly caught Poland unaware. “Wojciech tried to save the situation,” said Nawalka. “We were very surprised. The players thought a substitute was coming on and that is why there was a big misunderstanding.”
On the very same pitch as Lionel Messi so struggled against Iceland to make a decisive contribution, Mane had earlier been influential. He started on the left but, while Messi played just about the entire 90 minutes on Saturday in the area between Iceland’s midfield and defence, the Liverpool winger really magnified his own threat with his movement. There were several eye-catching passes and dribbles but it was his work off the ball that was just as impressive, especially once Poland seized control of possession during the second half.
After Robert Lewandowski had forced a good save of Khadim N’Diaye with a free-kick, an excellent header by Krychowiak did briefly give Poland some hope. Nawalka, though, would make no attempt to hide the earlier deficiencies and effectively singled out the entire midfield for criticism.
“There have been many bad elements,” he said. “The wingers didn’t do a good job and, in the centre, we didn’t do well either. Two goals following our mistakes was something we were very unhappy with. In the first half we did not play. The second half was better but too little.”
Some stats for you
- Senegal have won 50% of their World Cup matches (3/6), the best win rate of any African nation in the competition.
- All three of Senegal’s World Cup wins have been against European nations (France, Sweden and Poland).
- Poland have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last nine World Cup matches, since beating Portugal 1-0 in 1986.
- Poland have lost seven of their last nine World Cup matches (W2), failing to score in six of those losses.
- Poland are the first nation to make two errors leading to a goal in a single World Cup match so far in 2018.
"For me the referee makes a mistake, Krychowiak makes a mistake, Bednarek makes a mistake".
"I think the referee's read it very poorly there. Although the ball is in Poland's control, Bednarek doesn't see what's happening, Szczesny does but he sees it too late."
Patrice Evra delighted
I'm happy! Thank you to all the Senegal players, nobody expects them to win, no other African team has won.
They played for the pride, we have to congratulate the manager, it's a good day.
The last game of today is Russia vs Egypt! Will Mo Salah make a big appearance? Will home support drive Russia onto another blockbusting performance? You can follow all the action with Alan Tyers in our liveblog here.
That's a great photo! You can see Krychowiak beating the centre-backs to the ball.
That's it! Senegal deserved the points and put on a superb performance here. They attacked with pace and purpose, created chances, coutner-attacked well and were really well drilled in defence. Poland, by way of comparison, offered hardly anything of note and were well beaten.
90 mins +4 - Poland 1 Senegal 2
Do Poland have anything left in them? They're running out of time. But it's Senegal who are close scoring as Mane has a header in space inside the box! He cushions a header back across goal and the chance is gone, Poland get it up the pitch and are looking to get the ball into the box now. It's way more direct and now they're causing Senegal problems.
90 mins +2 - Poland 1 Senegal 2
The crowd are getting excited! Krychowiak is trying to win space to shoot in the box, waits, waits, waits... wins a corner. Up come the big lads... but it's a great claim by the goalkeeper. He plucks the ball out of the air and then humps the ball a mile down the pitch.
90 mins - Poland 1 Senegal 2
Mane turns Cionek inside out on the left wing and earns himself a corner. Great play. It's swung in... but the referee has spotted a foul in the box and it's a free-kick.
88 mins - Poland 1 Senegal 2
Well this is a lot better now. The crowd is alive, Poland are getting everyone forward. "Just get it in the box!" says an exasperated McCoist. "That's how you got your goal!" he offers, as Poland keep up the short passing.
POLAND ARE BACK IN IT!
A free-kick from distance is crossed into the box and Krychowiak jumps to power the header past the goalkeeper! But the VAR is checking for offside. It must be a goal...
The goal stands! Brilliant header and free-kick from Poland.
85 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
The VAR are checking this decision! It could be a penalty... but VAR say no. Oooooh that would have been a story.
84 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Final sub for Poland. Piszczek off, Bereszynski on.
Sarr attacks the right wing, is tackled and stays down... so Poland get the ball up the other end of the pitch. Sarr stays down for ages with a mysterious injury and the referee stops the game... but it turns out, miraculously, that Sarr is fine. The referee gestures from 50 yards for him to get up.
He does.... and SARR IS IN! He's gone down in the penalty area and this could be a foul! The Poland players are FURIOUS with him!
82 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Whenever Senegal get the ball they move it quickly with purpose. When they lose it they drop back and defend in numbers, ready to counter attack. There's nothing on show that suggests Poland are even bothered about the score staying like this.
80 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
"Just do something different to try and change the game!" McCoist says. Poland put a cross in from wide left which Kownacki heads into the ground. The atmosphere is fairly calm... but Poland are 10 minutes away from a big defeat! Where's the urgency?
78 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Ally McCoist's getting wound up by the lack of adventure being shown by Poland. The fans are getting on their backs too. That makes a change from the general sound of apathy. You can actually hear it.
76 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Poland chip hopeful balls forward and Senegal have absolutely no problem dealing with it. Where is the imagination in this Poland team?
74 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Kownacki on, Milik off. He sprints over to the subs bench.
72 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
MILIK! That's very close. He makes a run to the near post to attack a cross from wide right but pokes it wide of the goal. Better from Poland.
The game's a bit scrappy now. Gueye is booked for a late one on Krychowiak, both teams are swapping possession around the halfway line. Still Senegal look the more confident and hungry of the two.
70 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
And this is Krychowiak's pass which led to the goal. Poland are horrible here today. No invention, no speed, no tempo to the passes - Senegal have got their number.
68 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
That's the moment Niang poked the ball beyond Szczesny for his goal.
66 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Great control by Sabaly. He wants the ball more than Piszczcek and steals it from him in the air, sprinting down the left wing until he hits a dead end. Senegal sitting back in a deeper shape now waiting to counter-attack Poland, who have to get more men forward now if they want to score.
63 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 2
Diouf is subbed for Ndoye. Poland are raging about that goal because Niang had just come back on the pitch are leaving because he was 'injured'. It's a defensive error though - no point in blaming anyone but themselves for that error.
IT'S 2-0! OUT OF NOWHERE!
Krychowiak passes back to the goalkeeper but it's awful! Niang chases, Szczesny comes flying off his line way too early and the centre-back doesn't intercept.... and Niang is in! He pokes it past the goalie and then taps into an empty net! That's his first ever international goal!
60 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
Niang goes down after contesting a header but Poland play on. Diouf is furious about it and goes charging into Krychowiak, fouling him to stop the game. Just for a second it looks like things might bubble over but heads cool as the referee calms them down.
Incidentally, Niang is absolutely fine.
58 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
Poland attack down the left and cross to the back post and Piszcek arrives! His effort is poor.
"He didn't believe it," says McCoist as we watch the replay of that one. Poor from the Poland right-back.
56 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
When the average positions stats look like that it helps explain why a game might not be captivating. It's been exciting in flashes but a lot of the game has been played in midfield.
54 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
A quick attack down the left wing for Senegal gets Sabaly in at goal. He pulls the ball back across the box but Mane can't turn it at goal and his shot is blocked.
Senegal have the ball in the final third, Mane switches play, the cross is whipped in from wide right and a striker swings a foot at it! He's missed the ball! If that had connected it could well have flown into the back of the net.
52 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
Lewandowski takes the free-kick... and it's a strong save by N'Diaye at the far post. Poland have upped the tempo now and look much better than they were in the first half.
50 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
Poland might have changed to 3-5-1-1 for this half. The three centre-backs should be able to nullify the Senegal front two, and that helps wing-backs get higher up the pitch to lend service to Lewandowski.
Great play by Lewandowski! He steals the ball at half way, breaks away and Sane brings him down before he gets to the box. It's a clear booking and now Poland have a great free-kick opportunity.
48 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
That's a really bad start for the half for Bednarek. His head has collided with the body of a Senegal forward and he might have jarred his neck... or at least taking a whack to the jaw. He's up and back ready to play though.
KICK OFF 2
And we're back! Substitution for Poland though. Blaszczykowski hasn't made it out for the second half and Bednarek has replaced him.
Gueye's goal / Cionek's own goal
Give it to the attacking player I say. Without the shot there wouldn't have been a goal!
Bilic is great chat today
"4-4-2 is back in business - Atletico, Monaco - but then at least you have one of the wingers if not both midfielders who go inside and the full-backs doing that (flying high up the wing) but none of the teams are doing that. It's two vs two."
"It's easy to read," says Henrik Larsson.
Slaven Bilic on the match
"It's easy to explain why this is a boring game. Both teams play the same system so they cancel each other out. So in this kind of game a goal comes from a mistake or transition, it's like a mirror. The only players changing positions are Niang and Mane, it's very predictable."
No shots on target by either side
A deserved lead for Senegal and there is work to do for Poland here. They've been outclassed and need to bring a lot more to the table if they're going to get anything out of this.
44 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
Poland look a little pedestrian here.
Senegal in control of possession, taking their time, winning aerial duels, following up second balls with urgency and keeping cool.
42 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
Sarr speeds past Rybus like a shooting star and wins a corner.
It's curled out, to the six yard box and SANE IS THERE! Oh that's a bad miss! The cross has hit the penalty area and the defender has headed down into the ground and bounced the ball over the bar. That should be 2-0.
40 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 1
That goal's going to count as an own goal apparently because Gueye's shot was heading wide. That sucks.
Senegal are really impressive here, I wonder if Poland underestimated them a little bit. They're playing with a lot of energy and freedom but look really well drilled defensively and Poland can't get near them.
GUEYE HAS SCORED!
Great attack by Senegal but Poland's defending is dreadful here! Mane looks like he's going to hit it, passes it to his right and Gueye has space. He lines up the shot, fires it low and it takes a BIG deflection off Cionek and wrong-foots the goalkeeper. Senegal have the lead!
36 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Blaszczkowski is struggling a little bit after riding a tackle on the edge of the Senegal box but appears to be OK for now.
34 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Sarr controls a long switched pas son his chest beautifully, runs down the right and crosses in low... but a defender stabs it away. Senegal keep up the pressure, the ball comes in from the right again and Diouf attacks! But he can't get enough on his header, the centre-backs clear their lines and there was an offside in the buildup anyway.
32 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Nothing too much happening at the moment. The ball is mostly at halfway with no particular team really in control of it. Both looking to attack but losing the ball too early to do anything with it.
30 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Rybus runs in behind the Senegal back line but the goalkeeper comes out to claim before it becomes a problem.
28 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Senegal probe the final third, keep up the high press but Poland go past it really easily and the break should be on! But as they try to come out of their own half it becomes apparent that absolutely nobody is high enough up the pitch to pass to and Senegal easily absorb the counter.
26 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
You can see the different approaches in this graphics:
Poland keeping more of the ball but doing it in safer positions. Senegal a little more direct and attacking the wings.
24 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Must be an awful pain making sure these guys are always standing in the right order.
Lewandowski has tried a hopeful attempt at a volley, while off balance, from 20 yards but puts it harmlessly behind.
23 mins -Poland 0 Senegal 0
Senegal are holding their defensive shape (4-4-2) well here to deny Poland space to pass into. Poland are doing exactly the same thing, mind.
21 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Poland get up the pitch and look to have a decent chance to get the ball in the box here. It's chipped in, Milik throws himself at it and heads over.
19 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
All of a sudden Senegal are in! It's another quick attack, they dribble past players before making a forward pass but the shot inside the box is dragged wide.
16 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Poland attack quickly and win a corner but Senegal defend their box well and get it away, then win a throw.
Senegal wait at half way to steal the ball and Sarr then goes on a dribble into the area, falls under close attention and makes an ambitious attempt at claiming a penalty. Never ever.
14 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Krychowiak fouls one player then lunges into another and has been booked for the first infringement. It was like he was determined to get booked there! Senegal have a free-kick about 30 yards - probably too far to shoot - but it looks like they're considering it.
Sane steps up... and that's awful. He tries a knuckleball effort off the side of his foot but basically passes it out for a goal kick.
11 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Poland are a 4-4-1-1 at the moment with Krychowiak doing a man-marking job on Mane whenever Senegal get forward on the ball.
Mane puts in a great wee pass to the box but Cionek reads it well and shields until the goalkeeper can claim.
9 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
McCoist has pointed out the strategy at set pieces seems to be that Senegal put all their attacking players in the same position so that when they split, it's really difficult to pick up a man and stop them getting a head on any crosses into the box.
Senegal have started well here. Poland seem measured and patient whereas Senegal are direct and taking the game to them.
7 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
According to Ally McCoist on co-comms, Senegal are heavily outnumbered in the crowd. "There are little pockets of fans but that's it" he says. Senegal win a corner, the centre-backs come forward for it.
Niang prepares to take the kick... but it's cleared at the near post.
5 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Poland now keeping the ball and working forward well. Senegal have to be alert to defend as the ball is moved into the box but win possession and again come out from the back.
2 mins - Poland 0 Senegal 0
Senegal drop deep to defend a Poland attack but break into an attacking shape really quickly... then calmly pass their way out from the back.
And we're off!
National anthems done
Nothing overly emotional in the national anthems and now, after ANOTHER betting advert, it's time for lovely fitba.
I can't help but feel this lady is being rather presumptive. She could look quite the fool at the final whistle if Senegal turn up here today.
Here come the players
“I am certain that one day an African country will win the World Cup." Not my words, but those of Aliou Cisse, Senegal's manager and a man who really does think Senegal are in the running to do something special in this tournament.
The last game of the first round
How are you doing at Fantasy Football? The first round of games is over and if you're like me, you only have a few substitutions left to make. In my pre-tournament selection I really thought Senegal would do well here and I'm excited to see how Mane and co get on. There have been some big shocks already - Japan earlier was another! - but we're noticing some real trends. Most goals seem to come from set pieces and particularly penalties, with our old friends VAR helping out a lot. Correct decisions often mean more fouls which means more goals.
Patrice Evra on Senegal
"Don't forget about Koulibaly. Sarri made him improve a lot, he's really cool with the ball and is a massive asset for them."
Slaven Bilic likes the look of Senegal
The ITV panel are discussing how good Senegal might be. "They have something different," is Bilic's take on it.
The World Cup in pictures
This is lovely wee gallery to have a look through:
Jamie Carragher on England last night
Our expert columnist has had his say on Raheem Sterling vs Marcus Rashford.
Inside the dressing rooms
Poland players inspecting the pitch
There they are. Looking for holes and trying to find any bits of the pitch that will make the ball go super fast.
Szczesny, Pazdan, Cionek, Milik, Lewandowski, Krychowiak, Grosicki, Rybus, Blaszczykowski, Zielinski, Pirszczek
KH. Ndiaye; Koulibaly, Gana, Sane, Diouf, Mane, Sabaly, A. Ndiaye, Ismaila, Niang, M. Wague
Where is the match?
We're in Moscow this afternoon/evening at what is usually Spartak Moscow's stadium. It looks a little something like this:
A bit like a multiplex cinema at a seaside resort.
This is the first Senegal strip or flag I've seen in any of the pre-match build up photographs. Love that Senegal kit.
What to expect from today
Hello and welcome to our liveblog for Poland and Senegal's first match of the 2018 World Cup! It's a tough one to call and both teams might fancy their chances of getting all three points today - both have some really talented players and are capable of causing damage!
Poland's best ever performance at the World Cup was in 1986 when they reached the semi-final:
Robert Lewandowski is by far their best player and at 29, is at peak age for a striker. This will surely be his last World Cup as one of the planet's greatest forwards though and Poland must ensure they give him enough ammunition to get every ounce of attacking talent squeezed out of him
That's not to say Poland aren't decent elsewhere. Wijciech Szczesny has turned into an excellent goalkeeper, Kamil Glik won Ligue 1 with Monaco not long ago and Arkadiusz Milik has high potential. He currently plays for Napoli and big things are expected.
Senegal's history in the competition isn't quite as impressive and aside from that brief 2002 foray to the quarter-finals, they haven't been anywhere near it. There are some great players in the current side though - Kalidou Koulibaly is a great defender, Idrissa Gueye is like a lesser-known N'Golo Kante and you might be rather familiar with Sadio Mane. There's a lot of creativity, some midfield steel and a lot of pace in this team but Poland will be aware of it.
I'd imagine Poland will look to contain the game, attack down the wings and hook crosses in for Lewandowski but will defend deep and deny space for the likes of Mane and Keita Balde to exploit on the counter.
Team news will be with us very shortly so make sure you stick around to get all the updates, buildup and analysis you could possibly need. And as if this game wasn't already interesting, at the moment it looks like the unfancied Japan are about to do a number on Colombia! They're winning 2-1 with a man advantage just now - this could flip the outcome of the group.