With nothing to lose, Senegal have accepted the tags of outsiders but they will look to cause mischief when they face-off against England
Present at this level for the second time in its history, Senegal are set to challenge England in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup at the Al Bayt Stadium.
Due to its history and the caliber of results in the distant past and of the present, England are favorites. They finished top of Group B.
That said, the Three Lions showed a contrasting face in the group stage, with good performances against Iran (6-2) and in the second half against Wales (3-0), but they disappointed against the United States in the game which ended zero-all.
Despite the form of Marcus Rashford, author of 3 goals in this World Cup, Senegal hold their own cards close to their chest.
After the Teranga Lions’ defeat against the Netherlands, the African champions brushed hosts Qatar aside via a three – one margin then defeated Ecuador 2-1 to qualify as 2nd in group A.
Confident, united and determined to honor the absence of Sadio Mané, the Teranga Lions are ready to surprise the World like they did in 2002 when they took out Sweden, at this stage (round of 16) of the competition.
Absent from the press conference on Saturday due to illness, the Senegalese coach Aliou Cissé will definitely be available in the dugouts on match day.
He will be without his midfield metronome, Idrissa Gueye, who is suspended but Cisse’ welcomes Cheikhou Kouyaté, who is back from injury.
Kouyaté was injured in the first match against the Netherlands but returned to training on Saturday, and he is ready to go.
In view of what obtained against Qatar, Pathé Ciss and Illiman Ndiaye could keep their places in the starting lineup. It is a little more complicated for Pape Gueye, who could see Pape Matar Sarr deprive him of the starting place.
At the opposite end, Gareth Southgate is spoiled for choices, apart from the sudden departure of defender Ben White for personal problems. The technician will find it difficult to do without Rahsford as a starter.
The probable line up of England:
Pickford – Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw – Rice, Henderson, Bellingham – Rashford, Kane, Sterling.
The possible XI Senegal:
E. Mendy – Sabaly, Koulibaly, Abd. Diallo, Jakobs – P. Ciss, N. Mendy – I. Ndiaye, P.M. Sarr, I. Sarr – Dia.
Things to note;
This is the first meeting between England and Senegal.
10 of the 26 players on the Senegal list play in England.
England are 5th in the FIFA rankings, Senegal 18th.
Salvadoran referee Ivan Barton will be on the whistle. He has already officiated in games pitting Germany-Japan and Brazil-Switzerland.