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Ibrahima Sonko backs Senegal for Last 16

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What to expect from Senegal (2:44)

Ed Dove explains why this Senegalese side could struggle to repeat the glory of 2002 at the 2018 Russia World Cup. (2:44)

Former Senegal international Ibrahima Sonko believes his countrymen will reach the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup, but feels anything beyond that could be a stretch.

The Lions of Teranga open their account against Poland at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Tuesday, with Colombia and Japan the other teams in a competitive Group H.

"I see this Senegal team reaching the Last 16 because they are a good team that has been together for some time now," Sonko tells KweséESPN from Kampala, Uganda, where is he is a guest of the Uganda Revenue Authority Football Club.

"They will have to be at their best to make a good start against Poland because a good result in the opening match means a lot.

"Going past the quarters could be a little bit of a problem, but who knows ... anything is possible in football, especially when you believe in yourself."

Senegal are aiming to become the first African nation to reach the semi-finals, but face a difficult Last 16 encounter -- should they get there -- with either England or Belgium likely to be waiting.

The 37-year-old Sonko won five caps for Senegal during a career which saw him travel through England to represent the likes of Brentford, Reading, Stoke City, Hull City, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town.