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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Dancing in Dakar
President Wade was among those celebrating victory
President Wade was among those celebrating victory

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Fans in Senegal are hailing the Dakar Lions' victory over France in Seoul in the opening game of the World Cup as the greatest day in the country's history.

And the goal from Pape Bouba Diop that secured the 1-0 victory has made the midfielder an instant national hero.

From the moment when he bundled the ball into the France net after a defensive mix-up between Emmanuel Petit and Fabien Barthez, Diop was cheered every time he appeared on the giant screen here at the National Theatre in Dakar.

And especially when he spoke after the match.

"Today's victory is a victory for all of Africa and Senegal," were the words which beamed back to his adoring fans.

One fan shows how France were strangled
One fan shows how France were strangled

"No one expected that Senegal will beat France. But we did."

After the final whistle, delirious supporters poured out on to the streets shouting "we're going to eat chicken tonight" - a reference to the French side's cockerel emblem.

The country's president, Abdoulaye Wade, said he was never in doubt his side would achieve this great World Cup shock.

"Everyone who has listened will know that I'm not surprised. I knew we were going to win," he said.

Open Quote
It's like an apprentice who learns his lesson well, and then beats his master
Close Quote
Senegal president Abdoulaye Wade

"They learned their trade, their technique, the science of football in France.

"They have come to Senegal's side, a little like an apprentice who has learned his lesson well, and then beats his master."

"What does surprise me," he added, "is that they didn't score two goals.

"After this win - after beating France, the world champions - the Lions can come back home.

"All the same, I want to ask them to stay and defend the colours of Africa."

Teachers and children had been given the day off, adding to the atmosphere, and many businesses and shops had changed their opening hours to allow staff to watch the match.


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 ON THIS STORY
Senegal midfielder Khalilou Fadiga
"We are a small country but a big people"
BBC Sport's Chris Simpson
"In Senegal the streets just erupted"
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Full coverage:
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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP A
  P GD PTS
DENMARK 3 +3 7
SENEGAL 3 +1 5
URUGUAY 3 -1 2
FRANCE 3 -3 1




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