|Host nation: Qatar Date: November 20-December 18 Reporting: Reside on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Reside, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and BBC Sport web site and app. Daily TV listings – Full protection particulars|
England v France. It is the World Cup quarter-finals everyone seems to be speaking about. Nonetheless, there are vital hurdles to beat first.
Either side may face lower-ranked opposition of their spherical of 16 matches on Sunday, however this can be a World Cup that has thrown up shock outcome after shock outcome. France should first overcome Poland, whereas England face African champions Senegal.
They could sit 13 locations decrease than England within the Fifa world rankings, however Senegal have a squad stuffed with expertise, even with out injured famous person Sadio Mane.
“We all know we will likely be favorites by way of rankings however Senegal will likely be a really harmful facet,” mentioned England coach Gareth Southgate.
“We all know loads of their gamers who play within the Premier League and throughout Europe.”
“Now we have to take our probability”
Senegal is the head of African soccer, ranked highest of all groups on the continent and the present holders of the celebrated Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
That is their third World Cup last, having additionally certified in 2002 after they reached the quarter-finals, and once more in 2018 after they had been knocked out within the group stage.
BBC Africa’s Babacar Diarra mentioned: “I feel the gamers are impressed by the 2002 technology with the pinnacle coach being ex-Birmingham and Portsmouth midfielder Aliou Cisse, goalkeeping coach Tony Sylva and different former gamers near the group resembling Lamine Diatta and El Hadji Diouf.
“So after dedicating the victory in Afcon to his elders and the victory in opposition to Ecuador to Papa Bouba Diop, the primary Senegalese goalscorer in a World Cup, precisely two years after he died, we are able to say that the spirit of 2002 is inspiring this present group.
“The qualification for the spherical of 16 was celebrated on Tuesday for a number of hours after the match. Now there may be confidence within the group regardless of Mane’s damage. There are debates about the way to play in opposition to England and what is likely to be their weak factors.”
Senegal is a nation bettering on the worldwide stage with a number of gamers now usually that includes in Europe’s prime leagues, together with the Premier League.
Chelsea duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr are amongst these representing the ‘Lions of Teranga’, whereas Everton’s Idrissa Gueye will miss the match as a result of suspension.
Bayern Munich ahead Mane will not be enjoying both. He was retained in Senegal’s squad regardless of being dominated out of the match as a result of a leg damage.
“We all know the English individuals. They play sturdy and assault properly. They’ve a terrific squad. However Senegal have an opportunity,” former Senegal worldwide Alassane N’Dour instructed BBC Sport Africa.
“A variety of Senegalese gamers are within the Premier League or the Championship. We all know English soccer.
“We need to be right here and play this recreation. Now we have to ensure we do not go there simply to look at them play. Now we have to take our probability.”
“It will be a outcome for historical past”
Senegal has brought about upsets earlier than.
They beat defending champions France of their group in 2002, in addition to Sweden within the final sixteen.
N’Dour, who was within the 2002 squad, mentioned now was “Africa’s time” to show its mettle on the World Cup.
“Africa has so many good gamers and expertise. You can not discover an excellent group with out African gamers. We’re all over the place in the most effective leagues,” he added.
“It’s time for us to enhance. That is the African time and particularly the Senegalese time. It’s time for us to return again.”
Senegal fan Ousmane, 25, instructed BBC Sport it could be “the most effective outcome ever” in the event that they beat England on Sunday.
“What a second [it would be] for Senegal. Everybody thinks England will win however why cannot we win?” mentioned Ousmane.
“Now we have good gamers – we are able to beat the mighty England. It will be a outcome for historical past. The group can be heroes. We are going to always remember these gamers if we beat England.”
Amy, 23, added: “This is among the greatest soccer video games I can ever keep in mind. The response at residence can be loopy if we win, completely loopy.”
Who’re the principals?
Skilled Chelsea centre-back Koulibaly is the captain and Senegal’s key man in defence. He has performed in two World Cups and two Africa Cup of Nations finals with Senegal. He turned the primary Senegalese to raise the Afcon trophy, after beating Egypt in 2021, the place he scored the primary penalty within the shootout. He additionally scored the profitable aim in Senegal’s essential group win over Ecuador on Tuesday.
Dia is a ahead within the Italian Serie A group Salernitana, on mortgage from Villarreal. He has began all three of Senegal’s World Cup group video games and scored within the 3-1 win over Qatar. In Mane’s absence, he has stepped up as the primary striker and has been a handful thus far within the competitors.
RB Leipzig centre-back Abdou Diallo, on mortgage from Paris St-Germain, has constructed a robust partnership with Koulibaly since debuting for Senegal final March. Of their World Cup qualifying group, Senegal conceded simply 4 targets in six video games. However they’ve but to maintain a clear sheet in Qatar.
“Senegal has nothing to worry” – evaluation
BBC World Service radio’s John Bennett
Sadly for the African champions, England won’t face the strongest potential model of Senegal. It should make an enormous distinction.
In addition to the notable absence of their star and massive attacking menace Mane, their midfield powerhouse Idrissa Gana Gueye will likely be lacking by means of suspension on what would have been his one hundredth look.
However with out these key gamers, can Senegal nonetheless trigger England issues? Undoubtedly.
The 2 full-backs who’ve stepped in – Youssouf Sabaly and Ismail Jakobs – have had an excellent match thus far, look sturdy defensively but additionally supply a menace going ahead.
The key assault hazards are within the giant areas. I’ve at all times felt that this Senegal group actually lacks a prime class quantity 9 and scoring targets has been a problem even with Mane match, however Boulaye Dia is proving to be a handful on this match.
Senegal is at its finest on the entrance foot. Once they have appeared heavy and tried to drop deep to carry on to a lead or a clear sheet, like within the second half in opposition to Ecuador, they’ve paid the worth.
Like all worldwide coaches, Senegal’s Aliou Cisse has obtained some criticism since taking up in 2015 for his techniques, however you possibly can’t query his report. He led them to the Africa Cup of Nations title and two World Cup qualifiers – now a spot within the final 16 for the primary time since 2002, when he was captain.
His calm, composed demeanor within the dressing room and technical space appears to rub off on his gamers and he offers them actual perception. The hangover from the horrific Mane damage information has lengthy since worn off, and so they have improved with each recreation in Qatar.
England are favorites however after a beautiful 2022 thus far, Cisse and Senegal will really feel they don’t have anything to worry.
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