FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – Senegal vs Colombia PREVIEW
It’s a do or die game for both Senegal and Colombia. Senegal must avoid defeat while Colombia must win, or draw and hope Poland beats Japan. Both teams are in huge danger of missing out the R16 stage so the stakes are going to be very high. Will Senegal replicate the magic of 2002 or will the Colombians show their class, back up the win against Poland win and advance breaking the Senegalese hearts?
So far, Senegal have been able to replicate the success of 2002 with 4 points out of 6 to start it off and an opening game win. However all of that could go out of the window with a loss in this game. So far, Senegal have shown some good stuff at the world cup, but they’ve had their negatives too. The main advantage that Senegal have had over opponents so far is their physicality. They have very strong, quick players and they’ve caused other teams problems. They are very dangerous from the wings with players like Mane, Sarr and then their full backs Wague and Sabaly coming forward who have all got great pace and have punished teams. The weakness about Senegal is they’ve been conceding some goals. They let in one from a set piece against Poland, then there was that silly goal they gave away against Japan due to poor defending which puts them in a much trickier situation now because they seemed to have that game settled.
So lets have a look at Senegal’s games so far. In the opener they physically beat Poland and capitalized on their mistakes. A 2-1 win to start their campaign against a side who have been terrible was a good way to start. In the second game, Senegal drew 2-2 with Japan. They had the lead twice, but blew it and drew in the end. They really lost points because of comical goalkeeping by their keeper N’Diaye when he tried to snuff out a cross but due to his poor positioning he missed the ball, fell and Japan scored a tap in. They’ve been playing slightly inconsistent, at one point it seems like they’re solid, the next moment they allow opposition to have their moments. However they are in a position to advance, but the test of Colombia will surely be the toughest one yet.
The players that stood out from Senegal other than Mane would have to be their full back Wague and striker Niang. The 19 year old Wague has been very good bombing forward, he got his goal and put in a MOTM worthy performance against Japan, while doing well against Poland. The moment has not been too big for the youngster, meanwhile Niang has been a tank going forward. He’s used his pace and strength well in this tournament although he’s had inconsistent moments, overall he’s delivered for Senegal with a goal and an assist in the tournament. Leader Mane has been his typical self so far, not a bad tournament from him.
It’s tough to evaluate Colombia’s world cup so far. They lost the opener to Japan but then destroyed Poland. In the opening game as we all know, Colombia went down to 10 men from the 3rd minute so it was extremely tough to get anything against Japan. Plus James was coming off the bench due to an injury in that game, so not only Colombia had to play with 10 men, but their star man was limited which meant going forward they couldn’t do much, other than Quintero they were pretty much woeful in the game and eventually couldn’t hold on losing it 1-2. In the second game, Colombia beat Poland 3-0. A game where they didn’t get any silly sending offs early and they had their star man in the lineup. We could see what difference it made. James came back and set up two goals, Cuadrado and Falcao were much more involved and got themselves on the score sheet while Quintero continued to play good football. Defensively, Colombia were barely threatened and whenever they did get opener up, Ospina saved them. It was an easy game for Colombia, they simply wanted it more than Poland and beat them down. Poland’s poor display does add on to the fact that Colombia had it easy, but Colombia themselves were very impressive and behind the support that they’ve brought to Russia, you surely wouldn’t want to bet against them now? Going forward, this team at full strength have finally showed up, defensively it’s hard to evaluate them so far, it’s been up and down from that part of their game. The front four of James Quintero Cuadrado and Falcao is their biggest strength and they will look to demolish Senegal the way they did it to Poland.
There’s a lot of attacking talent in this game that’s for sure. Expect both sides to set up to go forward. Senegal love to bring their full backs forward, especially Wague and that’s something Colombia could capitalise on with the creativeness of James, Cuadrado and Quintero. If anyone is expected to sit back during moments, it’d have to be Senegal since a draw is enough for them but you can expect them to try to attack because defending is risky business. Colombia know they have to win this game to advance so expect them to play they did against Poland. James will be the centre of the attention trying to run things for Colombia. Colombia will have to be very careful of Senegal’s wing play because that’s been their most dangerous way of creating goal scoring opportunities. Senegal will have to make sure to quieten down James because if they allow James time and space to pick out passes, they’ll get instantly cut open. Senegal cannot allow themselves to make any silly mistakes like the one against Japan’s 2nd goal. Senegal must play organised football, while same applies for Colombia. This game will involve players such as Mane, Quintero, James, Niang, Cuadrado, Falcao, Sarr. There’s a lot of pace, creativity and good finishing involved in this group so both sides must be wary of each other.
Not betting against Colombia. They may have lost to Japan, but given the circumstances they had a very daunting task with 10 men and a limited James. Against Poland we saw the true Colombia, they are a top class team, their attack is riding a high led by James right now and although Senegal are better than Poland, they have shown a lack of good defending at times themselves which is suicidal coming up against Colombia. Expect both teams to get forward, Colombia may dominate possession, but Senegal will be very dangerous at breaking out on the counters with the pace of their wingers and Niang up front. We expect a very entertaining game involving goals. This will be an intense game, but essentially Colombia have more world class players and will probably have a full stadium filled up by their supporters. James and Falcao will make the difference and Colombia will win 3-1.
1 Japan 4 pts +1 GD
2 Senegal 4 pts +1 GD
3 Colombia 3 pts +2 GD
4 Poland 0 pts -4 GD
ODDS – Decimal (WilliamHill)
Senegal Win – 4.00
Draw – 3.60
Colombia Win – 1.85
KICK OFF – 28th June 2018 – 3pm UK Time