Reigning African Cup of Nations champions Senegal will begin their journey to conquer the world this Monday when they face the Netherlands in Doha.
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium (Doha)
Senegal are the highest-ranked CAF nation by FIFA (#18).
They have scored in each of their last 13 games.
The African champions have lost just one of their last 20 competitive games (W14, D5).
The Netherlands have lost just two of their 19 all-time games against CAF nations (W12, D5).
The Netherlands have scored two or more goals in 16 of their last 20 matches.
They are unbeaten in their last 15 games (W11, D4).
Head to head
This will be the first official match between both sides.
Latest performances in all competitions
After conquering Africa earlier this year, Senegal will look to show their quality on the world stage when they begin their campaign against European heavyweights, the Netherlands.
This is the first time Senegal has featured in consecutive World Cup finals, and they will want to go better than their last outing, where they cruelly missed out on the knockout stages because of an inferior fair play record to Japan.
They will be looking to go one better than last time out and should enter this tournament in high spirits after lifting the Africa Cup of Nations trophy for the first time earlier this year. However, their chances of going on a solid run took a big hit as they lost star-man Sadio Mané, who will miss the whole tournament due to an injury in the right fibula.
But in Mane’s absence, manager Aliou Cissé has a host of exciting players to choose from and will hope that the likes of Ismaïla Sarr, who has struck six times at club level this season, will step up and carry the team.
Possible Senegal starting line-up
Edouard Mendy; Moustapha Name, Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo, Fodé Ballo; Nampalys Mendy, Idrissa Gueye, Pape Sarr; Krepin Diatta, Boulaye Dia, Ismaïla Sarr.
Injured: Sadio Mane
The Netherlands will look to continue their remarkable run of form when they take on Senegal on Monday.
Louis van Gaal’s side will travel to Qatar in solid form, having not tasted defeat in 15 games, winning eleven times in that period (D4). Their last loss came in a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic in Euro 2020, so they are one of the most in-form teams coming into this fixture.
Having missed the 2018 edition, the Oranje are making their long-awaited return to football’s biggest stage, looking to go one better than their third and second-placed finishes in their last two participations.
Van Gaal will be hoping for a strong start in this tournament to justify their favourite tag for topping Group A.
Van Gaal says he is determined to see his team impress in this tournament, insisting that “we don’t have the best players on earth, but I believe in team building and tactics”.
That Dutch team spirit appears to have worked in the past, with the Netherlands never being eliminated from a World Cup during the group stage. They have reached at least the semifinals in five of their last eight finals.
Possible Netherlands starting line-up
Remko Pasveer; Jurrien Timber, Virgil Van Dijk, Nathan Aké; Denzel Dumfries, Teun Koopmeiners, Frenkie De Jong, Daley Blind; Cody Gakpo; Vincent Janssen, Steven Bergwijn.
|Senegal to win||Draw||Netherlands to win|
Senegal 1-2 Netherlands