Both of these sides were on the wrong end of 2-0 scorelines to begin their campaigns, but their matches were quite different. Senegal held out against group favourites, the Netherlands, until the 84th minute, with the Dutch only adding a second goal nine minutes into stoppage time. The hosts struggled to adapt in their inaugural World Cup match, having only one touch in their opponent’s box during the first half. The Maroon’s difficult debut shouldn’t come as a surprise — none of the last 13 World Cup debutants had managed to win their first World Cup game. They looked to have gone behind after just 160 seconds against Ecuador until VAR came to their rescue. The Expected Goals stat does paint a slightly better picture, though, with Qatar only trailing Ecuador 1.11 to 0.45 in that department.
How much Senegal missed Sadio Mané’s finishing prowess was illustrated by the fact that the Lions of Teranga managed 15 shots against the Netherlands, but only four were on target, and they failed to trouble the scorers. This will be the first meeting between these nations, with contrasting formations on show. Qatar is likely to retain its 5-3-2 set-up, with Senegal expected to adopt a 4-2-3-1 formation. Cheikhou Kouyaté is a fresh injury concern for Senegal. The latest FIFA Rankings suggest a gulf (no pun intended) in ability between Senegal, in 18th and Qatar, in 50th, and the match odds reflect this.