- Who: Senegal v Netherlands, Group A
- The place: Al Thumama Stadium
- When: Monday, November 21 at 16:00 GMT
- Rating: Senegal (18), Netherlands (8)
- Head-to-head report: None
Senegal and the Netherlands will head into their opening World Cup fixture excessive on confidence after a string of promising latest performances.
In February, the Teranga Lions secured their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after beating Egypt on penalties.
The Netherlands have additionally loved appreciable success of their continental exploits, topping their Nations League group and notching two morale-boosting wins in opposition to their Benelux rivals, Belgium.
Powerful fixture for each
Monday’s match will probably characterize the best problem in Group A for each groups, who will fancy their possibilities in opposition to Ecuador and Qatar, ranked forty fourth and fiftieth on the planet, respectively.
The competition at Al Thumama Stadium had promised to pit Liverpool’s mercurial centre-back Virgil van Dijk in opposition to his former teammate and prolific goalscorer Sadio Mané. Nonetheless, this 12 months’s Ballon d’Or runner-up picked up a leg damage taking part in for German champions Bayern Munich and has been dominated out of the match, in an enormous blow to the African champions that has left its supporters in shock.
“We all know that we’ve misplaced an awesome chief however I believe that there will likely be extra gamers that may present themselves and we have to be prepared,” defender Kalidou Koulibaly stated.
Midfielder Nampalys Mendy agreed.
“Now we have to be prepared, prepared earlier than any eventuality, it’s true that the absence of Sado will hurt us enormously … as a result of he is a crucial participant. Now we have gamers of nice high quality too, so we’re assured in our high quality, and we are going to do every thing to point out it.”
Nonetheless, Micky Jnr, a soccer journalist specialising in African soccer, expressed confidence that “this Senegal group will progress from the group”.
He expects Senegal to say, not less than, some extent in opposition to the Netherlands, or “possibly shock the Europeans with a win”.
The midfield battle
On the again, each groups boast a number of world-class choices. Van Dijk is joined by the likes of Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij and Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt for the Oranje. Senegal can depend on Chelsea’s Koulibaly and RB Leipzig’s Abdou Diallo.
In between the sticks, Senegal seemingly have the higher hand with Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy.
Though the keeper has struggled for kind this season, his worldwide expertise far outweighs what the Netherlands provides. Dutch supervisor Louis van Gaal has but to choose his primary, however up to now two matches, he handed Ajax shot-stopper Remko Pasveer his first worldwide caps on the ripe age of 39.
In midfield, the Oranje boast the likes of Frenkie de Jong and the free-scoring Cody Gakpo, who continues to gentle up the Dutch Eredivisie with 13 targets and 15 assists in 24 video games to date this season.
“It’s going to be a cagey sport; I believe the battle will likely be received in midfield,” says Jnr, who highlights Senegal’s Pape Matar Sarr, a gifted footballer with an “wonderful work price” as somebody to look out for.
Senegal have some thrilling choices in assault, corresponding to Boulaye Dia, who’s at present on mortgage to Serie A aspect Salernitana from Villareal.
Nonetheless, Mané will likely be an enormous loss for Senegal, whose defence must deal with Memphis Depay who appears to have recovered from an damage.
“Now we have gamers who play on the highest degree, the largest golf equipment on the planet. Now we have expertise. Now we have expertise. Now we have an excellent combination. However at first, we’ve group spirit. And I believe that’s the beginning and the important thing to success. It’s not assured success, in fact, nevertheless it’s a great way to start out,” van Dijk stated on Thursday, whereas additionally hailing van Gaal’s management.
“Now we have a improbable supervisor, skilled supervisor,” he added.
“It’s going to be a really massive one in opposition to the African champions and we’ll do every thing in our energy to hopefully get an excellent outcome and begin our World Cup in one of the best ways attainable.”