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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
The World Cup's biggest upset?
Senegal captain Aliou Cisse shone at the back
Senegal humble defending champions France 1-0 in the World Cup curtain-raiser in Seoul.

Is it the tournament's greatest ever giant-killing?


Midfielder Pape Bouba Diop upstaged France's cast of stars to score the decisive winner after 30 minutes.

Les Bleus struggled to find their stride in searching for an equaliser and clearly suffered from Zinedine Zidane's withdrawal through injury.

And in his absence it was Senegal's El Hadji Diouf who claimed the starring role, harassing the French defence throughout.

Have Senegal pulled off the World Cup's greatest upset?

Have your say

So far it is a major upset, along with the Americans showing the world that they can play against the Portuguese.
Spencer, England

The biggest upset in this year's World Cup is the humbling of the Argentines by the English.
Okoonko Okokotako, Canada

I think the biggest upset was when Northern Ireland beat Spain 1-0 at Spain 1982.
Matthew Boyd, Newtownards, Northern Ireland

The greatest upset of all time has to be Cameroon's win against Argentina in the 1990 World Cup finals.
Omar Rashid, UK

Open Quote
The Senegal result was not such a big shock
Close Quote
Peter Verity, England
I agree that Senegal's win over France was amazing, but I think that the USA's win over Portugal was more impressive. They completely destroyed Portugal!
Joel Green, England

Congratulations to the USA on beating Portugal - probably the biggest upset of the World Cup so far! I am confident that the USA can now go on and win their group!
Eddy Purvis, UK

Perhaps not the biggest upset in history, but quite an upset nonetheless. Combine Zidane being out and France not playing with much desire, with Senegal playing like it was the most important game of their lives, and it was bound to happen.
Steve, USA

There is nothing like giant killer when there is no giant to be killed. Football is eleven men apiece. Football is not names overblown by the western media, it is dexterity with the ball on the pitch.

The Senegal result was not such a big shock when you consider that France were missing Zidane and Pires. Also, and more importantly, the majority of Senegal players play their football in France and so are used to the style of play. USA beating Portugal was a much bigger shock.
Peter Verity, England

It was not an upset, but a well claimed win by the Senegal team. France did not seem on form and I don't just think that it was because they were without Zidane.
Nick Byrne, England

Open Quote
Who really counted on Senegal pulling such an act?
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Eldrede, Zimbabwe
All I will say is it was an amazing match and the Senegalese had a solid defence though some runs were successful by the France and the finishing was unlucky. But Senegal is an upcoming team and anyone who watches African soccer knows that. Also it can be seen that the Senegalese were more determined while the French had a lacklustre performance. Bazi
Shahbaz Khan, USA

The biggest upset of the World Cup is Saudi Arabia not showing up and gifting Germany eight goals.
Suomi, Machar Township

Sensational! Who really counted on Senegal pulling such an act? Not many of us especially when they faced France, a team that has dominated world football since 1998.

France, with or without Zidane, have probably the best talent in the world. France are said to be seductive and deadly; the seduction did not work against Senegal. This is definitely the greatest upset of all time.
Eldrede, Zimbabwe

Don't write the French off, the players played an average of 60 games this year and are burned out while Senegal played around 38 games.
bob, england

Open Quote
It is the tournament's greatest upset and it will be fantastic if Senegal wins the finals
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Ranjeet Furhuraire, England
I wouldn't call this the biggest upset. Senegal were runners-up in the African Nations Cup earlier this year and with tournament experience fresh in their memory it gave them an advantage over France, who didn't need to qualify.

They have a solid team and know the French style. The French can also blame themselves. They had their chances, but failed to score.
Marcel, Netherlands

A fantastic win for Senegal! France has no chance in the World Cup. It is the tournament's greatest upset and it will be fantastic if Senegal wins the finals.
Ranjeet Furhuraire, England

Greatest upset? No, not at all. Should it be considered as stunning? Yes. It doesn't really matter that France lost. What matters is that this is the first match, first goal, and first stunning victory for Senegal. Viva Senegal!
Alex, USA

This is not an upset; as a matter of fact most of my friends predicted a draw. You need to consider that even a strong side like Nigeria is no match for Senegal and Cameroon, they are in the same class as France and co.
odock, usa

Open Quote
The USA over England in Brazil 1950 and even more so North Korea over Italy are greater upsets in history
Close Quote
PT Stonebreaker, USA
No matter what people say this was one of the biggest upsets of the World Cup. I am a Senegal fan but I did not give them any chance against the French. This was mainly due to their dismal performance in the Africa Cup of Nations final against Nigeria. Well done Senegal!
Kudzi, ZIMBABWE

No. The USA over England in Brazil 1950 and even more so North Korea over Italy are greater upsets in history. On the surface this result is a surprise, but considering the age in France's defence and Senegal's side being familiar with one another through French league play, it's quite understandable.

It will take on greater upset status should Senegal fail to qualify for the knockout round, which is still likely.
PT Stonebreaker, USA

I am wondering if the French players themselves are all that upset. When I saw their faces while singing their national anthem, while knowing the quality of the leading African teams, I could guess what was to come, and maybe could some of them too, since the majority of these Senegalese players play in France.
Yous, Belgium

This certainly is the tournament's greatest ever giant killing and a major upset which could ruin the calculations of France as they now would gave to come up with winning performances against both Uruguay and Denmark.

Parallels can be drawn with the defeat of Argentina by Cameroon in 1990 but Cameroon were billed as dark horses while the Senegalese team is a complete green horn in these championships.
Archis, India

Open Quote
This is probably the biggest upset that I can remember after following football for thirty years
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-
The Senegalese have once again caused a shock to beat the odds. The French side are weak without their main man Zidane! Nothing can be predicted at this stage but this win would surely energize the Senegalese and may also trigger the other African teams to give their best efforts no matter who they face.

As for the French, they should take things more seriously from now on!
Kibrom Tewolde, Ethiopia

This is the dawn of a new era. Move over Europe as we enter the reign of AFRICAN Football
Seun Bamisile, Nigeria

Senegal is better than Nigeria. They should be taken very seriously because for me they are the Norway of Africa. They score a lot from free kicks and corners, apart from the counter-attacks.
Khalid Ibrahim, Sweden

Yes, this is probably the biggest upset that I can remember after following football for thirty years!
Marek Jasinski, USA

Open Quote
We Africans don't look so naive now, do we?
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West, Nigeria
Certainly, the United States beating England 1-0 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil is the biggest upset. The obvious lesson to learn from the 1950 upset and this 2002 upset from Senegal win is clear: be afraid of your former colony.
Bryan Barnes, USA

Arrogant Europeans will like to call this an amazing shocker. They will like to make it seem as much of a fluke as possible. They will attempt to surround the story with as much amazement as possible because they don't want to admit that it's possible that African nations are just as good.

This is the African Nations Cup runners up we are talking about. We Africans don't look so naive now, do we?
West, Nigeria

During the 1982 World Cup in Spain Belgium beat Argentina 1-0 in the opening match. As a result Argentina had to tackle very tough opponents in the following rounds, which in turn led to a complete failure for them. The same story could be repeated here, although I think France will eventually get through. Difficult to tell which one of these two is the greatest giant-killing ever.
Jean-Claude Glineur, Belgium

It's not so much an upset as a confirmation of the quality of African football, which has long been under-rated by the rest of the world. All credit to Senegal and good luck to them and the other African teams in the rest of the tournament!
Per, Sweden

Remember that the key players in the French team are all of African descent: Zidane, Viera, Thuram.
Open Quote
It's not so much an upset as a confirmation of the quality of African football
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Per, Sweden
After all, every team is good as long as they are given the chance to showcase it and Senegal did just that. It would be very stupid on the part of French players to think Senegal was beneath them, especially when they are dominating your domestic league.
Abena, Ghana

France seemed lost without Zidane, nobody stepped up to control the game. Give credit to Senegal for playing a smart, disciplined match. Solid defence, opportunistic attacking and an endearing perseverance in attempting to beat the trap with a single forward...Bravo! Allez Les Lions!
Dan Gurian, USA

Who's next on the card? Ireland, Argentina? Wake up guys, this is the new world order. We are bound to see a few more "upsets"
Ehi Bintie, Ghana

Probably the biggest upset since the Americans beat England in 1950. But the main story has to be their goal celebration - thoroughly original, highly entertaining, and brilliant to watch. Well done Senegal.
Steve, Japan

Senegal beating France the World Cup's biggest ever giant killing? You've absolutely got to be kidding. This team is the second best in Africa. Better than Nigeria, who they beat in the ANC Semis. Only just worse than Cameroon, who only beat them on penalties in the ANC Final. These are Cameroon and Nigerian sides that are consider very dangerous opponents and even maybe outside bets to be Champions. Why on Earth doesn't an equally talented Senegal side get the same respect?

Open Quote
It's a shock and surprise to the French people
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Oliver, USA
The only shock for me is another reminder about how insular the British sometimes are about football.
Jan Brynjolffssen, England

Well done Senegal. A deserved win, well organised, and some nice counter-attacking football. But for me this does not quite beat Cameroon's victory over Maradona's Argentina. I have a feeling that if Zidane had played he would have provided the creative spark that France were dearly missing. A big upset, but not quite the biggest.
Roland (British ex-pat), France

Why the biggest upset? Finally France learns what it is to lose. First us humble Belgians now the magnificent Senegalese. I don't consider this match as an upset, though I find it quite funny
Flemming, Belgium

This victory was not a surprise to the Africans, but it's a shock and surprise to the French people.
Oliver, USA

It just goes to show one thing, Fifa should consider getting more African Countries in the World Cup, it looks like European domination is about to end and with Cameroon supposedly even stronger than Senegal our UK punters and bookmakers will have sleepless nights!
Madan, UK

Open Quote
Nice to see the evenness of quality across the world.
Close Quote
Pratik, India
I was not shocked by the result today as I've seen Senegal play quality football before and they deserved to win because they had no fear. I also believe that the Fifa rankings are a waste of time because squads change all the time and the ranks don't really represent the true potential of a whole footballing nation rather than one team.
Sean Dyer, UK

Surely one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. It was clear that France without Zidane lack quality.
Mahmud Hasan, Bangladesh

What Senegal proved was the particular weaknesses of one player, Frank Lebeouf. But they also demonstrated that any team has a chance in the World Cup, as long as you don't over respect the opposition
Tom Blenkinsop, England

Nice to see the evenness of quality across the world. The teams from Africa are making it a World Cup instead of a cup dominated by the Europe and Latin America.
Pratik, India

Tthe US victory over England in 1950 seems the greatest World Cup upset to me. That American team had only one player who had ever played on a team outside the US. The rest were college players and walk-ons. At the time, England were the favourite to win the Cup. The US was such a football backwater (more so than now!) that the upset was barely reported in the American press and wasn't really talked about in sports circles until years later.

By comparison, the previously-mentioned upsets of recent times still involved players from both sides that played in top leagues around the world. Still, way to go, Senegal!
Tom, USA

Open Quote
Who ever said that France were going to win?
Close Quote
Bastien Nocera, France/UK
France treated the whole game like a warm-up match. Maybe the lack of competitive action over the last two years has finally culminated with defeat against a hungry, committed, talented and skilful side that did much to diminish notions of 'backward' African football. Their goalkeeper in particular was better than we have come to expect. Biggest upset was undoubtedly Korea-Italy, since it was in the modern era
Ieuan, England

This is a giant killing event if Senegal or any other African nations were midgets and the Europeans or Latins are Giants. This is not the case! African countries are underestimated by commentators and bookies, making this World Cup and others in the past very entertaining and lucrative!
Hitendra Patel, Zambia

Who ever said that France were going to win? Of course, I wanted them to win, but all teams (especially Africans) in the World Cup finals are good teams. That's why I say "We'll see" when people tell me that France are going to be World Champions and England have no chance. Every team has a chance, and they'd be daft not to grab the opportunity. This is what makes football interesting.
Bastien Nocera, France/UK

The Senegalese are where the French team gets its most influential players (North Africa). I believe that you will see some of those same players playing for France in 4 years.
Robert Baston, Finland

Those who say it is the biggest upset say it out of ignorance. Anyone who follows African football and has seen Senegal play knows that it is not so inconceivable that they could beat France. Cameroon, Nigeria. Senegal have shown that it's about time people stopped classifying teams as outsiders for the mere reason that they are an African team.
Lilian Yengi, Cameroon/USA

Surely the World Cup's biggest upset was North Korea beating Italy 1-0 and qualifying for the Quarter Finals and then going 3 nil up against Portugal in 1966.
Simon Parry, Hong Kong

Open Quote
Surprised? Yes! I thought it would be a bigger margin!
Close Quote
Marek, USA
Speed and discipline are all that is necessary to win in soccer. While they might not have the flair of a Henry or Vieira, Senegal was quick enough to stifle France's scoring opportunities and disciplined enough to create their own scoring opportunities early. It is hardly a shocker like USA over England; rather it is a case of a solid fundamental squad overcoming a more glamorous opponent.
Michael, America

Biggest upset, no. But certainly a most gratifying one. Biggest upsets...Korea over Italy, USA 1-0 over England.
Don, USA

I think Senegal were outstanding, they showed great commitment and I'm very impressed with Diouf. He's got the makings of a fine player.
Neil Irving, England

European nations should wake up and smell the coffee. This is not an upset to France. Senegal are in the World Cup to compete with any team. This year is for Africa teams to do better and I hope a lot of people will continue to be shocked to see the African team's talent.
Abdul, Canada

Pele predicted a long time ago that an African nation would win the World Cup before the year 2000. I think he got it wrong by two years.
Steve Booth, New Zealand

Surprised? Yes! I thought it would be a bigger margin! Senegal are more French than the French. France have quality players playing in Europe, and Senegal have quality players playing in France. Systems make winners.
Marek, USA

Open Quote
The biggest shock for me was the USA beating England in 1950
Close Quote
Baz, England
This is an upset but such things are expected in every match regardless of who are playing. Senegal managed to sneak in a goal by chance in my opinion and held on to the lead desperately. It's just how it goes sometimes, you just can't get that equaliser.
Larry, England

Is this the greatest upset? It is only if you are biased, as unfortunately a lot of the European press has been. African football has come of age, but unfortunately a lot of the European press are too quick to write off the African teams. If England fail to do well in the World Cup then we will hear that the heat and humidity prevented them from doing so. However we never hear of frost or snow ever having a detrimental effect on African players in Europe. All we can say that is that the best team won. There will be more "upsets" to come, not because teams got lucky but because they played better football.
Bola Ogunkoya, LONDON

It's got to rank as one of the biggest shocks, but all credit to Senegal. The biggest shock for me was the USA beating England in 1950 - I still double take when I see that result.
Baz, England

Why all these hype over so called upsets. You need to win seven matches to win the World Cup. Any country can accomplish this and have proved this by qualifying. The same happened to Spain in France '98 when they got humbled by Nigeria with their tail between their legs. They also beat Argentina and Brazil to claim the gold at Atlanta '96.
Segun Ariyo, Nigeria

It was the second biggest shock after the USA beating England in 1950, followed by Cameroon beating Argentina, then Costa Rica beating Scotland, then North Korea beating Italy.
Graham, UK

An upset would have been someone like China or Australia replicating such a result, but not the runners-up of the world's third strongest continental championships (African Nations Cup).
Andre, UK

Open Quote
The France-Senegal result is not at all surprising to those who are soccer literate
Close Quote
Michael, United Kingdom
You can't really class it as the biggest upset. Senegal proved in the African Nations Cup that they had quality, and France seemed to have proved that they are in the same boat as England - lose an influential midfielder (Zidane / Beckham) and the rest of the team struggle to make up the deficit.
Chris, England

This could be seen as a major upset, but not as big as the Cameroon defeat of Argentina in 1990 - nobody gave them a chance of even getting a shot on goal against Argentina.
E Glenford Prescott, St Vincent and the Grenadines

The France-Senegal result is not at all surprising to those who are soccer literate. At youth and junior levels, African teams have done well winning the World Cup and Olympics, among other things.
Michael, United Kingdom

It wasn't that much of a surprise. Every single Senegalese player plies his trade in the French first division (most play for the top teams). There are a number who are being chased by tops European clubs. They know each other and obviously can play a bit.
Tony Berni, England

Open Quote
USA 1 England 0 in 1950 was the greatest upset of all time
Close Quote
Peter, England
Huge upset, but what about the Republic of Ireland beating Italy in USA '94- Ray Houghtons dipper was probably on a par with what happened today!
Michael, USA

USA 1 England 0 in 1950 was the greatest upset of all time, since the American side was mainly amateurs. In contrast, Senegal qualified ahead of Morocco and are African runners-up, so whilst this is an upset, it's not the greatest of all time.
Peter, England

This, perhaps, ranks second only to Cameroon's win over Argentina in 1990. I'm looking forward to a second phase clash between group runners-up France and Argentina.
Martin Kofi Ofori, Ghana

This result came as no surprise to me: I've just won 500! Such a shock was on the cards from the moment the draw was made and had become increasingly probable ever since. France's dreadful build up - drawing with Russia, losing to Belgium and scraping victory against Korea - provided plenty of evidence of what was to come. I doubt the French team will take anything more than two points from their remaining two games and will exit the tournament in ignominy. Senegal on the other hand are well placed to clamber out of the group phase.
James, UK

Open Quote
It is a remarkable result, but France have not been in the best of form recently
Close Quote
Tony, Ireland
No matter what the French players are called, stars or superstars, they are human. History teaches us that human beings will always surprise each other.
Iishmaila, Ghana

France were arrogant before the tournament and have got what they deserve! They hed the strength and depth to beat Senegal but couldn't raise their game to them.
James Clark, England

It is a remarkable result, but France have not been in the best of form recently, not playing any competitive games for 2 years, losing to Belgium and barely beating Korea. I would put this game at the top of the list of upsets along with Cameroon v Argentina and even Italy v Ireland.
Tony, Ireland

The greatest giant killing? I don't know. But a great opener for the 2002 World Cup. Perhaps a comparison of their current FIFA rankings says it all. France (1st) and Senegal (42nd.)
Lloyd Huntsman, UK

Open Quote
A surprise? To arrogant Europeans, yes
Close Quote
Daniel McNeil, UK/Canada
This was certainly one of the biggest upsets. It sits alongside the Cameroon victory over Argentina in the opening game of Italia 90. It will certainly make other big teams sit up and give more respect to the smaller countries.
David Tilbrook, England

The world has moved on. Do not underestimate any country at the World Cup. Everyone at the World Cup right now is a potential winner. Senegal are certainly a force, if you follow football you should know. It may be the greatest upset so far but there are more to come. There is no predictable winner in this tournament now.
Derrick Idehen, Nigeria

A surprise? To arrogant Europeans, yes. To people who don't consider all African teams 'naive', and who watch soccer outside leagues in Italy, Spain and England, no.
Daniel McNeil, UK/Canada

Open Quote
Only those who underestimate the quality of African football would consider this result an 'upset
Close Quote
Ross, Nigeria
In a way, this is the biggest upset ever. In the game between Cameroon and Argentina in 1990 everyone expected Cameroon to do well. In this one nobody, including me, gave Senegal a chance. And when one thinks of the fact that the team which played for Senegal could all have played for France, the irony becomes more poignant.
Amandi, Nigeria

It's a great upset and possibly among the greatest ever giant-killings but it's also quite common for World Champions struggle in the opening game... remember Cameroon in 1990 or Belgium in 1982? But even so, Well done Senegal!
Peter, Belgium

I don't consider this an 'upset' in any way. Only those who underestimate the quality of African football would consider this result an 'upset'. Senegal were the runners-up in the African Nations Cup for goodness sake. And believe me, any of the so-called 'big teams' in the world would struggle in that competition. My congratulations to the Lions of Senegal on their deserved victory.
Ross, Nigeria

Open Quote
A few of us saw this coming - France beaten by a more committed and less arrogant side
Close Quote
Cliff Watkinson, England
It is the same as Cameroon beating Argentina in 1990. In that World Cup, Maradona, just like Zidane, was injured and couldn't play. However, after the return of Maradona, they made it to the final and France will do the same. If France are going to lose the Cup, it won't be before the very final match and possibly against a more lively and talented team like Argentina. Anyway, good luck to Senegal, maybe they can kick out one or two rusty-old-fashioned European teams like Germany, England or Spain.
Kent Ferguson, UK

Well, well, well. A few of us saw this coming - France beaten by a more committed and less arrogant side. Other European nations beware; we have been given a stern warning by the emerging so called "second string" footballing nations. I believe there will be more to come.
Cliff Watkinson, England

A great upset, up there with Cameroon-Argentina in 1990. Congratulations Senegal.
Phil Hynes, UK

Open Quote
South Korea's defeat over Italy in 1966 would have to be the greatest ever upset
Close Quote
Brownchester, Canada
Why is it that most commentators underestimate African teams? It is not an upset. Senegal prepared as well as France for this World Cup. African teams are more hungry for the Cup than any other contenders. You are in for greater surprises from these African teams. Watch out.
Oluyemi Farayibi, Nigeria

Surely this pales into insignificance when compared to Scotland's defeat by Costa Rica. Now that was a shock.
Iain Wilson, Scotland

It's not quite the biggest upset. I think South Korea's defeat over Italy in 1966 would have to be the greatest ever upset.
Brownchester, Canada

Open Quote
This upset of France by Senegal is a wake-up call to the soccer world
Close Quote
Alex Balogun, USA
This is unbelievable. What a start to the World Cup. The result sends a message to all those teams who are ready to take other teams for granted. Congratulations Senegal, yu have proved that Soccer is indeed the most entertaining sport in the world.
Janakiram, USA

I would have liked to say "I told you so" to the pundits, but this is unnecessary. The much improved skill level of soccer in Africa has gone unnoticed by the world of soccer pundits. This upset of France by Senegal is a wake-up call to the soccer world that the African teams are on a mission.... to win the World Cup. With respect to soccer politics, I do hope that the FIFA President will follow-through with the promise, based on these better performances, to add 1 or 2 more qualifying teams to the African zone in the next World Cup. Viva le Afrique.
Alex Balogun, USA


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