Sunday, November 20
*Qatar 0-2 Ecuador
Monday, November 21
*England Vs Iran, 4pm
*Senegal Vs Netherlands, 7pm
*USA Vs Wales, 10pm
African representatives Senegal will be hoping for a positive result when they open their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign against Netherlands.
The match at Al Thurmama Stadium in Doha comes nine months since Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations in Caneroon.
Then, they beat Egypt in the final, the same side they eliminated over two legs months later to confirm their ticket to Qatar.
Influential in both games was Sadio Mane who has since been ruled out of the whole tournament after a surgery on an injury he picked in Bundesliga while in action for Bayern Munich.
That has left Senegal reeling, and their coach Aliou Cisse had this to say: “We are not just talking about Senegalese people but people around the world and the whole football family is saddened.”
“He (Mane) represents the African continent as well as Senegal. I have received phone calls from around the world.
“All coaches build teams around their best player, that is also the case for us. We have a strong team as well, with experienced and young players ready to rise to the challenge.”
Without Mane, Senegal will shift the scoring burden to Boulaye Dia (Salernitana), Famara Diedhiou (Alanyaspor), Bamba Dieng (Marseille), Nicolas Jackson (Villarreal), Iliman Ndiaye (Sheffield United) and Ismaila Sarr (Watford).
Senegal have a decent squad to start with including Chelsea goalkeeper Edourd Mendy and will fancy their chances to cause an upset.
This will be the third time Senegal are playing at the FIFA World Cup after 2002 and 2018 and have won their opening match at those two events. They beat then defending Champions France 1-0 in 2002 and edged Poland 2-1 in 2018 Russia.
But against Netherlands, they face a stronger side who is 10 places above them in FIFA World Rankings. Senegal are 18th while Netherlands are 8th.
The Dutch who have been beaten thrice, including in 2010, at the World Cup final, will be facing Senegal for the first time.
They have a pretty decent lineup that include Cody Gakpo (PSV), Mathias De Ligt of Bayern Munich, Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool, Frenkie De Jong among others.
But against Senegal, they are likely to miss Memphis Depay with a hamstring injury, Denzel Dumfries and Marten De Roon.