WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keeper: K. Ndiaye, A. Diallo, A. Gomis
Defence: K. Mbodji, K. Koulibaly, M. Wague, S. Ciss, Y. Sabaly, L. Gassama, A. Traore, S. Sane
Midfield: P. Ndiaye, I. Gueye, C. Kouyate, C. N’Doye
Forward: S. Mane, D. Balde Keita, I. Sarr, D. Sakho, M. Konate, MB. Diouf, M. Niang
They will be making only their 2nd appearance at the finals. They made their debuts in Korea/Japan in 2002 where despite being drawn into a tough group with Denmark, Uruguay and the holders; France – they managed to finish 2nd with 5 points.
In the round of 16 they defeated Sweden with a 2-1 victory after extra time before suffering a 1-0 loss to Turkey in the quarters, again after extra time.
Senegal are serious contenders to get out of this group, they qualified unbeaten from CAF’s Group D after taking 14 points from their six matches, winning four and scoring 10 goals.
There qualifying campaign saw some controversy, in November 2016 they lost 2-1 in South Africa, a result that saw Senegal submit a protest to FIFA over the officiating as Ghanaian ref Joseph Lamptey awarded the hosts a dubious penalty.
Lamptey was found to have manipulated the South Africa result and is banned for life in March 2017.
Then, after home and away draws against Burkina Faso, FIFA order the disputed South Africa game to be replayed. In November, back in South Africa, Senegal won the replayed match 2-0 and secure qualification with a game to spare, ironically their last game was against South Africa as well.
Recent friendlies have been mixed, they have only won 1 in 5, a 2-0 against South Korea. They lost 2-1 to a good Croatia side in June after being 1-0 up, before this they had 3 consecutive draws against Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Luxembourg.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
Khadim N’Diaye of Guinean side Horoya AC is likely to be first choice in goal, the 33 year old has just 26 caps for his country after making his debut in 2010.
Senegal possess a wealth of talented forward options, powerful midfielders and commanding central defensive options in Kalidou Koulibaly and Kara Mbodji.
Napoli’s Koulibaly is an absolute certainty to start and the player has recently been linked with big money moves to a couple of Premier League sides in the last few transfer windows, Mbodji has had injury problems this season and though he should be fit enough to start, if he does have to be kept in reserve Salif Sane is a more than adequate replacement.
Whichever partnership is picked at the back, they will have Youssouf Sabaly and Lamine Gassama flanking them, Sabaly isn’t the most experienced player at international level with just 5 caps to his name but the former PSG man has done well in his various loan spells before signing for Bordeaux permanently last summer.
The key area of strength, however, is in midfield, where Idrissa Gueye performs a key duty, snuffing out opposition attacks and protecting his defence.
He has not enjoyed his best season at Everton, but his defensive numbers have rivalled those of N’Golo Kante in recent years, and he’s the centrepiece of a strong unit that contains the likes of Kouyate, Alfred N’Diaye and Cheikh N’Doye.
Add to this the pace and quality of the likes of Sadio Mane, Moussa Sow, Ismaila Sarr, Diafra Sakho, M’Baye Niang and Keita Balde among others in attack and the The Lions of Teranga can cause problems for a lot of teams.
With these options, it’s difficult to guarantee which of them will be starters in the front three, other than Sadio Mane from the left hand side, Keita Balde was excellent for Lazio before moving to Monaco and can play in various positions across the front, whilst M’Baye Niang is a very talented player but very erratic and inconsistent, though he may have enough about him to start for Senegal here.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
This is the tightest group in the competition by far and although Colombia will be favourites to win it they will need to perform from the off and perform well.
Colombia had their best ever performance last time out in Brazil as they reached the quarter finals, easing through their group and past Uruguay before being defeated by the hosts.
They will be without first choice left back Frank Fabra unfortunately and their central midfield isn’t the best but they possess some very good defenders in Davison Sanchez and Yerry Mina at the back and the attacking threat of Cuadrado, Falcao and James Rodriguez should be enough to see them through the group.
Poland are the obvious threats, they comfortably finished top of the relatively comfortable UEFA Group E, winning eight out of 10 fixtures against Denmark, Montenegro, Romania, Armenia and Kazakhstan, even though their 4-0 defeat in Copenhagen was an obvious disappointment.
They scored 28 goals, 16 of them coming from Robert Lewandowski. The captain netted hat tricks in key home wins against Romania and Denmark, and their qualification was never really in doubt.
The Poles are much more than just one striker, though. Manager Adam Nawalka is building on a successful Euro 2016, where the Poles reached the quarterfinals and exited only on penalties.
They have a solid backbone of experienced leaders, including centre-back Kamil Glik, defender Lukasz Piszczek and midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, who are complemented by rising young stars like Piotr Zielinski and Karol Linetty.
Japan are the weakest team in the group, despite a turbulent campaign, Japan won their group in Asian qualifying to secure their place at the finals.
Finishing ahead of Saudi Arabia by a solitary point to advance to a sixth consecutive World Cup. A 2-0 win over Australia in their penultimate game saw them book their place and secure first position, claiming one of two automatic berths.
They possess an experienced group of players, several of whom will be appearing at their third World Cup.
Eiji Kawashima, Keisuke Honda, Yuto Nagatomo, Shinji Okazaki and captain Makoto Hasebe all played in 2010 and 2014 and it will be up to them to give the team the much-needed lift behind the scenes after a difficult lead-in to the finals, with the sacking of Vahid Halilhodzic which caused turbulence within the squad and left with just two months to repair the damage under new coach Akira Nishino.
They’re always comfortable in possession and have some quality players in Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa but they will likely be finishing bottom of what should be a fiercely competitive group.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group H Fixtures / Results
|Mordovia Arena, Saransk – June 19, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Spartak Stadium, Spartak Stadium – June 19, 2018 6:00 pm|
|Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg – June 24, 2018 8:00 pm|
|Kazan Arena, Kazan – June 24, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Volgograd Stadium, Volgograd – June 28, 2018 5:00 pm|
|Cosmos Arena, Samara – June 28, 2018 6:00 pm|
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