Best bets for the England-Senegal World Cup match
Sunday, 2 p.m. ET
The Three Lions aim to roar their way into the final eight of this increasingly exciting and unpredictable World Cup tomorrow when they face Senegal in the round of 16
Gareth Southgate’s side arrives here as group winners and unbeaten following impressive 6-2 and 3-0 wins over Iran and Wales, respectively, sandwiched between a hard-fought 0-0 draw with the USA.
England made it to the semifinals in Russia four years ago and to the final of last year’s European Championships. But they have been in poor form in the run-up to this tournament, enduring an embarrassing relegation in the Nations League. However, Southgate and his players are big-time performers and have produced in tournament football when it matters. They have looked very dangerous going forward and resilient at the back. The key for England is the team and the tactics that Southgate decides to go with, and that’s why I’m not interested in taking England -200 on the money line.
Senegal is the reigning AFCON winner. They started the tournament slowly and were defeated by eventual group winners, the Netherlands, 2-0 in the group opener. They still qualified with two hard-fought victories 3-1 against hosts Qatar and a nail-biting 2-1 victory versus Ecuador. If they are to pull off a +600 surprise, they have to do it without superstar Sadio Mané, who missed the tournament through injury. They will also go into battle against the Three Lions without star midfielder Idrissa Gueye, much to manager Aliou Cissé’s obvious fury on the sidelines. He has received a one-match suspension for picking up two yellow cards.
Tomorrow will be the first time these two countries have played each other, which adds extra spice to an already fascinating encounter. England will not be gung ho against a dangerous opponent, and Southgate, who is a great student of the game, will have seen so many of the “top sides” struggle against lesser oppositions. England, in bursts of attacking play against Iran and Wales, has looked as exciting as any side here. It will be very difficult for this Senegal side, particularly without the suspended Gueye, to keep them out. England had 78.1% of possession against Iran and 64.6% against Wales, and I can see a similar result here, with Senegal struggling to get enough of the ball to win this game.
That being said, Senegal is dangerous from set pieces and is not shy in taking shots. In this World Cup, they have averaged 14 per game! They have also scored in 18 of their last 20 matches.
I do believe England, who are fifth in the FIFA world rankings with nine goals already scored and so many attacking players, are the likely winners. I quite like the 2-1 and 3-1 correct scores at 9/1 and 33/1, respectively. My pick though is for Senegal to find the net as well and for both teams to score “yes” at +136, which has cashed in three of the previous four games they have played.
Both Teams to Score “Yes” at +136