The 2018 semi-finalists England were undefeated in Group B and scored nine goals.Senegal aiming to match 2002 quarter-final effort following successive victories.Winner will tackle either defending champions France or Poland in last eight.
England made hay in their opening game against Iran, Jude Bellingham’s 35th-minute strike opening the floodgates for a six-goal showing. Manager Gareth Southgate admitted he was “grumpy”, nonetheless, after his team conceded two second-half goals.
The 2018 semi-finalists tightened the ship against the USA. Their heightened defensive awareness came at a cost, however, with England creating little and missing any spark in a 0-0 draw. Defence and attack married perfectly in the closing group game, when England dominated Wales to win 3-0 and generate momentum and belief for the knockout stages.
Senegal similarly arrive in the last 16 feeling very good about themselves. Aliou Cisse’s team lost their opening game to the Netherlands after letting in two late goals. Their frustration was compounded by the absence of star forward Sadio Mane, at home nursing an injury, and the African team faced a very tall order to progress from the group.
They handsomely met that challenge, finding their feet with a 3-1 victory over Qatar before edging a winner-takes-all clash with impressive Ecuador to advance to only Senegal’s second Round of 16 appearance.
England have been blessed with good fortune on the injury and suspension front in Qatar. James Maddison was unavailable for the opening two fixtures but is back in full training, while Harry Kane quickly overcame an ankle problem sustained against Iran.
The only absentee is Ben White, the Arsenal defender who has returned home for personal reasons. England also navigated their three group matches without collecting a booking.
Idrissa Gana Gueye, however, was cautioned twice in the opening phase and the Everton player’s unavailability is a body blow for Cisse. The coach is likely to be without another midfielder in Cheikhou Kouyate, who was carried off on a stretcher in the opening game against the Netherlands after hurting his ankle.
Pape Matar Sarr of Tottenham Hotspur and Mamadou Loum, the Porto player on loan in the English Championship with Reading, are vying to replace the experienced Gana Gueye.
Possible starting XIs:
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount; Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka.
Senegal: Edouard Mendy; Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo, Ismail Jakobs; Pathe Ciss, Pape Gueye; Pape Matar Sarr, Iliman Ndiaye, Ismaila Sarr; Boulaye Dia. .
This is the teams’ first meeting.
England have won five of their seven World Cup Round of 16 ties.
England are unbeaten in seven World Cup matches against African nations (W4 D3).
England have kept clean sheets in their past two World Cup matches. The last time they kept three successive clean sheets at the finals was in 2002.
Against Wales, England became the seventh team to reach the milestone of 100 goals scored in FIFA World Cups. The other six are Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, France and Spain.
Senegal have not kept a clean sheet in their past 10 FIFA World Cup matches
Senegal have won three, drawn one and lost two of six World Cup matches against European opposition.
Senegal won their only previous World Cup round of 16 match: 2-1 after extra-time against Sweden in 2002.
England coach Gareth Southgate said, “We know on the rankings we will be favourites – we’ve got to deal with that – but they’re a very dangerous team. The first objective is achieved. To this point we’re really pleased. The big business starts now.”
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said , “This will be a new stage for us. We know that we are moving to the knockout stages, which is completely different from what we are used to playing in these types of (group) matches. It is now a win or lose situation, there are no second chances – if you win, you go through, if you lose, you go home.”
Venue:Al Bayt Stadium