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Senegal Stun France 1-0 | WORLD
CUP NEWS HOMEPAGE
Papa Bouba Diop got Senegal's winning goal in the 30th minute as the French, trying to become the first team in 40 years to defend the title, played without the world's greatest player, injured midfielder Zinedine Zidane.
The upset ranks with Cameroon's 1-0 victory over Argentina in the curtain-raising match of the 1990 tournament in Milan, Italy. It was also Senegal's first match in a World Cup final with 21 of Senegal's 23 players laboring in French leagues.
As Diop hit the stunning winner, schoolkids ran out and started dancing in the streets of Senegal's capital Dakar with the government having called off school for the day to celebrate the match.
Diop's goal came on a play set up by teammate El Hadji Diouf, who beat French defender Frank Leboeuf racing down the left side.
Diouf centered the ball with French defender Emmanuel Petit deflecting the pass into French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who was unable to control the ball as Diop slid in and knocked it home.
France simply could not penetrate the tough Senegal defense although the champions had a 60-40 percent edge in possession.
However, France did have its chances.
In the space of three minutes just 10 minutes into the second half, France had four chances with David Trezeguet, Thierry Henry, Youri Djorkaeff and Patrick Vieira failing to break through as 'keeper Tony Sylva came up with several point-blank stops.
Henry and Vieira drove two close-in headers wide of the mark and Sylva made a diving save on Djorkaeff.
France, which never did seem completely organized and was disoriented at midfield without Zidane, but still had two chances in the final minutes to save the day as Henry shot from 10 meters (yards) into Sylva's hands with defender Frank Leboeuf also stopped from 10 meters (yards).
France plays its second match in Group A against Uruguay on Thursday and closed with Denmark. Senegal will face Denmark on Thursday and Uruguay on June 11.
Senegal: Tony Sylva; Omar Daf, Pape Malick Diop, Aliou Cisse (c), Khalilou Fadiga, El Hadji Diouf, Lamine Diatta, Moussa Ndiaye, Salif Diao, Ferdinand Coly, Pape Bouba Diop.
Referee: Ali Bujsaim, United Arab Emirates.