World Cup Round of 16 – Will England Prevail Over Senegal On Sunday?

By Ian John
December 2, 2022

Tuesday’s results in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar finally provided us with some clarity for two of the eight games that will be part of the second phase of the tournament, the Round of 16.

In Group A, the Netherlands comfortably beat Qatar to move into the knockout phase as group winners, but in the other game there was something of a surprise as African Cup of Nations winners Senegal defeated South American side Ecuador 2-1 to claim the second spot in the knockout phase from the group.

Who the Netherlands and Senegal would face in the Round of 16 would be decided by the events in. Group B later that evening and when England secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Wales, and the United States defeated Iran 1-0, it meant that England topped the group with the United States finishing second.

That gives us the first two Round of 16 ties as the Netherlands v United States, which takes place at 3pm on Saturday afternoon and then England v Senegal, which is a 7pm kick off on Sunday evening.

As Groups C,D,E,F,G and H are completed over the coming days, the remainder of the games in the Round of 16 will be finalised, but for today we are going to focus on that crucial game on Sunday night for Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions.

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England v Senegal Preview

Sadio Mane

This will be the first time that England have met Senegal in any form but the Three Lions have a excellent record against African nations.

They have never lost a game to a team from Africa, or from Asia for that matter.

England have played a total of 18 games against African Countries, winning 13 of those matches and drawing the other five.

Their most recent game against such an opponent was a 3-0 victory over the Ivory Coast earlier this year.

Senegal have played 13 times against European opponents and they have a decent record, winning six of those games, drawing two and losing five.

Their most famous victories came at the 2002 World Cup when they defeated France and Sweden en-route to the World Cup Quarterfinals that year.

England & Senegal Group Stage Analysis

Group A – Senegal

  • Game 1 – Senegal 0-2 Netherlands
  • Game 2 – Senegal 3-1 Qatar (Dia 41, Diedhiou 48, Dieng 84)
  • Game 3 – Senegal 2-1 Ecuador (Sarr 44(p), Koulibaly 70)

Senegal were hit with devastating news ahead of the tournament when it was announced that Sadio Mane’s injury was worse than first realised and that their star man and talisman would miss the tournament due to him requiring an operation to fix the problem.

Those fears seemed to be cemented when the African Cup of Nations Champions went down to a 2-0 defeat in their opener. Two mistaked from Eduoard Mendy handing goals to Netherlands duo Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen to hand the Dutch the win.

However, they bounced back well in their second game when defeating hosts Qatar 3-1 in a game that they would have expected to win.

That set up a crunch clash with Ecuador who had a point more than Senegal but in the end a first half penalty from Ismaila Sarr was cancelled out by Caicedo’s equaliser. However just three minutes later Koulibaly put Senegal back in front and they held on to claim second place in the table.

Senegal did look a little lightweight in attack without Mane as their focal point, but they were physically very strong and did look secure at the back, although crosses into the box were how they conceded both the goals in the group stages.

Predicted Team v England – (4-2-3-1) – Mendy (GK), Sabaly (DR), Jakobs (DL), Diallo (DC), Kolulibaly (DC), P.Gueye (DMC), P.Ciss (DMC), Gueye.I (MC), I.Ndiaye (AMR), Sarr (AML), Dia (AC)

Group B – England

  • England 6-2 Iran (Bellingham 35, Saka 43,62, Sterling 45+1, Rashford 71, Grealish 90)
  • England 0-0 United States
  • England 3-0 Wales (Rashford 50,68, Foden 51)

England kicked off their World Cup campaign with a thumping win against Iran. Jude Bellingham gave England the lead with Bukayo Saka adding a double while Sterling, Rashford and Grealish completed the scoring, all scoring their first ever World Cup Finals goals.

However, after the game manager Gareth Southgate was disappointed at England conceding two goals and how the game petered out somewhat and cautioned that his team had to improve defensively further into the tournament.

In their next game England did improve defensively and kept a clean sheet against the United States, but it was a poor performance in the game with the England side lacking urgency, inventiveness and penetration in attack.

Southgate made a number of changes for the final game with Wales and after a first half that they dominated without creating too many chances, England broke through with two quickfire goals in the 50th and 51st minutes from Rashford and Foden before another Rashford strike made it a comfortable win for England.

Two good performances in the group stage were sandwiched either side of a very poor display against the United States, so while England will be pleased to top the group, there is still room for better attacking play and more consistency.

Southgate though has some nice selection issues to consider, namely who plays right back (Trippier or Walker), and in midfield (Henderson or Mount) and attack (Foden, Sterling, Saka or Rashford).

Predicted Team v Senegal – (4-3-3) – Pickford, Trippier, Shaw, Stones, Maguire, Rice, Bellingham, Henderson, Saka, Kane, Rashford

How Do The Two Teams Match Up?

Who will win the game? Well let’s take a look at how the two teams match up by giving each player a rating between 1-10 in terms of ability and their current form.

England v Senegal Man For Man Battles

  • GK – Pickford (Eng) 7 v Mendy (Sen) 7
  • DR – Trippier (Eng) 8 v Sabaly (Sen)  6
  • DL – Shaw (Eng) 7 v Jakobs (Sen) 5
  • DC – Maguire (Eng) 8 v Koulibaly (Sen) 9
  • DC – Stones (Eng) 8 v Diallo (Sen) 7
  • MC – Rice (Eng) 8 v P.Ciss (Sen) 6
  • MC – Henderson (Eng) 7 v I.Gueye (Sen) 7
  • MC – Bellingham (Eng) 9 v Gueye.P (Sen) 7
  • AMR – Saka (Eng) 8 v N’Diaye (Sen) 6
  • AML – Rashford (Eng) 9 v Sarr (Sen) 7
  • AC – Kane (Eng) 9 v B.Dia (Sen) 6

In this breakdown England scored 88 out of a possible 110, while Senegal mustered 72 out of 110, which does suggest that England have a significant advantage and that is played out by the odds on offer for the game with bet365.

Bet365 Odds

  • England to win – 8/15
  • Draw (at 90 mins) – 11/4
  • Senegal to win – 13/2

The bookmakers have England as the clear favourites to win the game and it is hard to argue with that. However, if they play like they did against the United States, then England could well find Senegal a real threat.

The African side are under no pressure to win this game with expectations low and that makes them dangerous, but I would expect England’s experience and quality to eventually prove to be the difference between the two.

My Tips For The Game

  • England to win – 8/15
  • England to win 3-1 – 16/1
  • Anytime Goalscorer – Harry Kane (England) – 5/4 or Marcus Rashford (England) – 12/5
  • England to win and both teams to score – Yes – 10/3

*all odds shown are courtesy of Bet365 Sport and were correct at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime.

Kick off is 7pm on Sunday with the game shown live on ITV and remember you can enjoy In Play betting on this game and every World Cup game at bet365!

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