Heading into the 2002 FIFA World Cup, France were one of the favourites to take home the Jules Rimet Trophy. That’s not all too surprising given that they were the defending champions, but they were in for quite the shock on the opening day: the hands of the ultimate underdogs Senegal.
With the world watching, the French allowed their overconfidence to get the better of them as Pape Bouba Diop fired the Senegalese to a victory that quite literally no one could’ve predicted. So, what have the famous starting 11 been up to since then?
Good old Tony was a legend of the game, spending 11 years at Monaco before going to Lille for another four. A hero at the World Cup, and a hero in France – which will become a theme quite quickly. Image Source: Sporting-Heroes.net
Coly was something of a bad luck charm, suffering some poor spells at Perugia, Parma and Birmingham City of all places. Still, great name.
Image Source: Twitter
From Besiktas with love, Diatta somehow ended up reuniting with his Senegalese brother Diouf at Doncaster Rovers to end his ‘non-illustrious’ career.
Image Source: Getty Images
Pape Malick Diop
Pape Malick Diop also spent the majority of his days in France, also extending his international career by another four years before hanging up his boots. Image Source: Getty Images
Daf probably never has to buy a pint in Montbeliard again, with two stints at Sochaux that lasted well over 13 years in total. Outside of that French city, though, the bloke probably won’t gain too much recognition. Image Source: Twitter
In what may well be one of football’s greatest stories – Aliou Cisse has gone from defensive general to the manager of Senegal’s national team. Can he lead them to glory? We sure hope so. Image Source: Twitter
Moussa followed in the footsteps of many of these gents, floating around France before moving back to the homeland. Funnily enough, the 38-year-old is actually the only member of the starting XI who’s still playing to this day. Image Source: Getty Images
Pape Bouba Diop
The man. The myth. The legend. Pape Bouba Diop scored the lone goal that night, and went on to become a well known face in English football courtesy of Fulham, Portsmouth and West Ham United. Image Source: Twitter
Salif Diao is probably quite well known for his five-year tenure at Stoke, but his phenomenal scoring record of two goals in over 200 career appearances is what we should really be talking about. Image Source: Twitter
Believe or not, the cult hero Fadiga actually went to Inter Milan following their Korean adventure. Sure he ended up at Coventry and Bolton, but let’s think of the positives.
Image Source: Twitter
Yes, it’s THAT El Hadji Diouf. When he wasn’t busy being one of football’s worst representatives, the forward had stints with the likes of Liverpool, Bolton, Sunderland, Blackburn, Rangers, Donnie Rovers, Leeds and then finally finished up in Malaysia. Stay classy. Image Source: Twitter
They didn’t qualify before that tournament and they haven’t done so since, but the Golden Age of Les Lions football will still live on in the memory of football fans around the globe. They may not replicate that success in 2018 or any time soon, but 2002 proved that they shouldn’t give up hope.