Two sides who have had a good year in international football meet in the middle match of the double header of action in the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Monday when Senegal take on the Netherlands in Doha.
This is a Group A match which pits the African champions against a leading European side in a section where we have already seen Ecuador get the better of Qatar so whoever wins this will be in a good position to make progress.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the ITV 1 channel in the UK. The build-up in Doha begins at 3pm with the contest kicking off at 4pm.
Senegal were the winners of the Africa Cup of Nations at the beginning of 2022 when they beat Egypt in a penalty shootout to win the final and then a month or so later they did the same thing to book their place at these finals. Given the group they are in, the leading African side would have been coming to the tournament with high expectations but the injury to Sadio Mane which has ruled him out of the competition has tempered those ambitions somewhat.
The Lions of Teranga aren’t exactly the most free scoring team in the world even with Mane so without him you wonder what they will have. What they do have is plenty of power in the middle of the park with Premier League experience in there as well as between the sticks and at the heart of the defence. Senegal will have watched the other game in the group and will know if they can just avoid defeat here they will fancy their chances of getting what they need to qualify from the other two matches.
The Netherlands head to Qatar as one of the dark horses for the tournament. They have been in fine fettle since losing out in the last 16 of Euro 2020 17 months or so ago. They cruised through qualifying for this tournament and won five of their six matches in the Nations League to ensure that they are through to the semi-finals of that event. Louis van Gaal has put together a decent squad which has just the right blend of youth and experience.
The Dutch have two of the better centre-backs going around today in Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong is as good as anyone on the ball in the game today. The Dutch head into this match unbeaten in their last 15 outings and have won 13 of their last 15 competitive matches so if form going into the competition is a box that separates potential winners from the rest then the Netherlands certainly have it on their side.
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Senegal have no Sadio Mane for this tournament so Ismaila Sarr is likely to be one of the focal points in attack. Krepin Diatta and Bamba Dieng are expected to be fighting it out to replace Mane. Abdou Diallo is a doubt for the match.
Netherlands have confirmed that they will be without Memphis Depay for this opening match as he has a hamstring injury. Denzel Dumfries is another one who might not be fit to take the pitch and Marten de Roon is a doubt as well.
I think the Netherlands will come out on top in this match but Senegal are pretty solid defensively so I don’t expect this to be a runaway victory for the Dutch. Any chances there might have been of that happening haven’t been helped with the injury to Memphis Depay and the doubt over Denzel Dumfries. They do still have firepower in the likes of Steven Bergwijn and the new star of the Eredivisie, Cody Gakpo though.
Senegal are generally a solid defensive unit but you have to think they might need a game or so to get to grips with the absence of Mane. This isn’t a tournament where the squads have been together for 2-3 weeks and playing warm up matches ahead of it. Everyone is largely blind in that aspect so it might be that we don’t see the best of the African champions offensively until their next two matches. This is likely to be tight given the injuries and it being the opening match for both but I fancy the Netherlands can win by the odd goal.
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