Senegal are thriving under African expectation: Koulibaly

Senegal are Africa's last hope to reach the World Cup group stage, and defender Kalidou Koulibaly believes this responsibility can boost the Lions of Teranga when they meet Colombia in Samara on Thursday.

Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, who play Panama later on Thursday, were all eliminated after two matches, while Nigeria crashed out following a dramatic late defeat by Argentina in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

Yet Senegal can still advance to the knockout stages if they avoid defeat against Los Cafeteros at the Cosmos Arena.

Napoli's Koulibaly believes the pressure of being the last African team alive in the competition can come as a boost for the Lions.

"It's a positive more than a pressure," he told journalists on Wednesday. "We have the whole continent behind us, all supporting us.

"We know we're capable [of advancing] so it's a positive point," he added. "We already have 15 million Senegalese supporters behind us, and now we have a whole continent.

"We're proud to wear the colours of Senegal - and now of Africa - we have everything to reach the next round and we're confident we can do it."

The Lions of Teranga could have been in a more comfortable position in the group if they'd built on their opening victory over Poland with a win against Japan in their second match.

However, despite twice taking the lead in Yekaterinburg, Senegal were held to a 2-2 draw, as the initiative appeared to ebb away from them.

"We've prepared well for this game," Koulibaly continued. "[Aliou Cisse] has done a lot of work with the confidence, we're a team who needs confidence.

"In the first game we got a good result, so the confidence is there, but we need to cut out the errors, as the World Cup is settled on the details."

Colombia bounced back from their opening 2-1 defeat by Japan by beating Poland 3-0 in Kazan. Both the South Americans and Senegal would advance with a draw if Biało-czerwoni beat the Blue Samurai in Volgograd. – Kwese ESPN