England has done everything expected of them in this World Cup campaign so far, easing through qualifying as pool winners and then making light work of Group B. It hasn’t always been pretty, and 2022 hasn’t been the smoothest ride, but they are here and in a great position to keep the dream alive. Followers of the Three Lions have never been the most patient of fans, with many expecting their side to win every World Cup and European Championship entered since 1966.
The reality is England is stuck in the midst of a painful drought going back more than 56 years. Will that run without glory on the global stage come to an end in the Arab World and its winter World Cup? It would be the unlikeliest of wins for the team as fans cheer them on between Christmas shopping, gathered at indoor fan parks trading cold lager for warm drinks. But that remains a strong possibility with Gareth Southgate’s team improving with the passing of each game. They’ll certainly take some stopping.
They have barely put a foot wrong in Qatar, but tensions rise as we enter the knockout stages. Fans sing football’s coming home from the UK, but to have any chance of winning a World Cup for Christmas, they must defeat Senegal on Sunday. The Africans are a flamboyant side full of colour, running, and ambition. But do they have what it takes to eliminate the Three Lions? That remains to be seen, but in this article, we investigate. Read on as we break the match down, using the stats and trends to help you make a strong prediction based on facts.
England hit the front
Following a World Cup qualifying campaign that passed without incident, England began its quest to win the trophy with a stunning 6-2 win over Iran on matchday one. It seems like a long time ago now, but the opening match in Group B was a thriller. The game had everything, including eight goals and a stand-in Iranian goalkeeper that looked every bit as nervous as the man he replaced in the opening few minutes of play. They took their time to get started that day, but once they had the lead, England oozed confidence.
More of the same was expected against the USA, with their opponents expected to simply make up the numbers in Qatar. The USA is one of the few countries here where football isn’t the nation’s top sport. It’s not even in the top three. That’s only part of the reason why they were written off before the start, but the USA proved a tough nut to crack. With two teams showing a strong defence and still lacking composure in attack, the match ended goalless. It wasn’t the result England fans wanted to see, but it was a fair return.
With the team top of the pool heading into game three, they faced a Welsh side that was fighting for its survival in Qatar. The winner of that match would go through to the next round, while the losers would go home. England started as the red-hot favourites to get the desired result, and they did just that, beating their neighbours in style. That match ended 3-0 in England’s favour as Wales ducked out without winning a match or putting up too much of a fight. Rashford scored a double in that game but didn’t get off the mark until the second half. Southgate came in for criticism for not using Foden to help break down the USA, and the Man City star netted his first goal of the competition seconds after England had taken the lead.
Senegal is another team that caught the eye during qualifying, and they have more than held their own in the competition proper. They weren’t one of the early fancies to lift the trophy, with experts placing them behind the top teams like Brazil, France, and England. Results don’t lie, and Senegal is here on merit. They worked their way through a competitive group, finishing as runners-up behind the Netherlands in pool A.
The Dutch were convincing winners but didn’t have it all their own way after beating Senegal on matchday one. The Africans took that early loss on the chin and didn’t let it throw them off their stride. Senegal finished with stats of two wins against that one defeat, taking maximum points against Ecuador and a host nation that proved to be out of its depth at this level. The pool finished with Senegal earning six points from a possible nine, scoring five goals but conceding four.
Their goal difference tally gives fans an idea of what to expect from Senegal. They love to get forward, attacking with pace and aggression. They also have the skill to create chances and the strikers to score goals. But at the other end of the field, the defence can be weak. Senegal can be caught on the counterattack, and that’s what they must be wary of against England, who are solid at the back and racy in the attack. Senegal must keep it tight to remain in the game and the competition.
England v Senegal prediction
Here we have a game involving two attacking sides that love to get forward, create chances, and get the fans out of their seats. That means this should be a thriller from the opening whistle. We hope the game lives up to the hype and produces after England was accused of lacking ambition against the United States.
This game could come down to which team has the better defence, and the stats suggest that is England. Southgate’s men will aim to take the sting out of their opponent’s tail by being organised in the middle of the park, and it would be no surprise to see Foden back involved after he caught the eye against Wales.
World Cup odds
The pre-match betting odds offered by 22bet has England at 1.496 to win this game with Senegal 7.2 and the draw 4.06.
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