Vying for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals, England and African Champions Senegal go head-to-head at Al Bayt Stadium this Sunday, December 4, 2022.
After Gareth Southgate’s side topped Group B by beating Wales, a first-ever meeting between the nations sees the Three Lions tackle the Teranga lions, who made it through to the knockout rounds thanks to a crucial goal from their captain against Ecuador.
England is yet to lose in 20 matches against African opponents, so Southgate’s team starts as favorites to progress on Sunday.
Their quest for an elusive second World Cup started in the aftermath of an awful run of results through 2022 – during which time they were relegated from the top tier of UEFA’s Nations League – but a return to form for Manchester United pair Rashford and Harry Maguire has played its part in building momentum behind their Qatari campaign.
African teams have lost eight of their nine World Cup knockout matches against European opponents to date – the sole exception being a Senegalese win over Sweden – if it comes to spot-kicks the Lions of Teranga could therefore hold a distinct edge over their English counterparts, who have so often seen shootouts result in painful failure.
Gareth Southgate will be happy with the performance of Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, and Marcus Rashford – all of whom were introduced to the starting XI against Wales.
He will now have to choose between the returning Kieran Trippier, Bukayo Saka, and long-time favorite Raheem Sterling to know who starts on Sunday, but there remains an outside possibility of switching from a back four to a flexible three-man defense.
Captain Harry Kane – Russia 2018’s Golden Boot winner – still seeks his first goal at this year’s finals, and will once more lead the Three Lions up front.
Meanwhile, Senegal must make their attempt to reach the final eight not only without injured talisman Sadio Mane but also his former club rival on Merseyside, Everton’s Idrissa Gueye.
The midfield workhorse is suspended after receiving a second booking of the finals against Ecuador, while Cheikhou Kouyate sustained an ankle injury in their first fixture and has since been ruled out of training. Nampalys Mendy of Leicester City can therefore deputize.
Since Mane is not present, Watford winger Ismaila Sarr and Sheffield United’s Iliman Ndiaye have picked up the steam.
Famara Diedhiou and Krepin Diatta are also contenders to feature on Sunday – with Salernitana striker Boulaye Dia providing the central goal threat.
The Chelsea pair Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly are stalwarts of the Senegalese defense, which is set to remain unchanged by coach Aliou Cisse.
England’s possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Rashford, Kane, Foden
Senegal’s possible starting lineup:
E. Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; P. Gueye, N. Mendy, Ciss; Ndiaye, Dia, Sarr
Recent Form (Last 5 matches)
In the last five matches, England has recorded two wins, two draws, and a defeat.
– Wales 0#3 England
– England 0#0 USA
– England 6#2 Iran
– England 3#3 Germany
– Italy 1#0 England
Senegal, they have won three of their last five matches, losing one and one draw.
– Ecuador 1#2 Senegal
– Senegal 3#1 Qatar
– Senegal 0#2 Netherlands
– Senegal 1#1 Iran
– Bolivia 0#2 Senegal
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