- 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 file: None
Senegal and the Netherlands will head into their opening World Cup fixture excessive on confidence after a string of promising current 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 possible symbolize 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 yr’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 event, in an enormous blow to the African champions that has left its supporters in shock.
“We all know that now we have misplaced an amazing chief however I feel that there might be extra gamers that may present themselves and we have to be prepared,” defender Kalidou Koulibaly stated.
Midfielder Nampalys Mendy agreed.
“We’ve 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. We’ve gamers of nice high quality too, so we’re assured in our high quality, and we’ll do every little thing to point out it.”
Nonetheless, Micky Jnr, a soccer journalist specialising in African soccer, expressed confidence that “this Senegal workforce will progress from the group”.
He expects Senegal to assert, not less than, a degree 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.
Regardless that the keeper has struggled for type this season, his worldwide expertise far outweighs what the Netherlands affords. Dutch supervisor Louis van Gaal has but to decide on 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 mild up the Dutch Eredivisie with 13 targets and 15 assists in 24 video games thus far this season.
“It’ll be a cagey recreation; I feel the battle might be gained in midfield,” says Jnr, who highlights Senegal’s Pape Matar Sarr, a gifted footballer with an “glorious work charge” as somebody to look out for.
Senegal have some thrilling choices in assault, akin to Boulaye Dia, who’s presently on mortgage to Serie A facet Salernitana from Villareal.
Nonetheless, Mané might be an enormous loss for Senegal, whose defence must address Memphis Depay who appears to have recovered from an damage.
“We’ve gamers who play on the highest degree, the most important golf equipment on the planet. We’ve expertise. We’ve expertise. We’ve a superb combination. However at first, now we have workforce spirit. And I feel that’s the beginning and the important thing to success. It’s not assured success, in fact, but it surely’s a great way to begin,” van Dijk stated on Thursday, whereas additionally hailing van Gaal’s management.
“We’ve a incredible 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 little thing in our energy to hopefully get a superb consequence and begin our World Cup in the easiest way doable.”