Qatar will face Senegal in a vital Group A clash in the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Friday, looking to open their account with a positive result.

The hosts were beaten 2-0 by Ecuador in the opening game of the World Cup, and the hosts looked completely off the pace in the group opener. And Qatar cannot afford to slip up against Senegal if they harbour hopes of reaching the knockout rounds of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Senegal were beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands in their opening game. The African champions did well throughout the game. But two uncharacteristic errors from star player Edouard Mendy allowed the Oranje to snatch the three points towards the end of the game.

Senegal will be desperate to bounce back strongly, and they will feel that they should be winning against teams like Qatar. They looked quite good going forward against the Netherlands, and they should be able to find a way part Qatar’s vulnerable back four.

Team News & Tactics

Qatar

Qatar will be able to field a full-strength lineup for the game against Senegal. The hosts had no injury problems in their World Cup opener, and they have a fully fit squad to choose from on Friday.

The hosts are likely to start with Saad Al Sheeb in goal. The back three will comprise of Bassam Al Rawi, Boualem Khoukhi and Abdelkarim Hassan. Pedro Miguel and Homam Ahmed will be deployed as the wing-backs. The two players were quite limited in the last game, and they will be expected to venture forward and support the attack here.

In the midfield, Abdulaziz Hatem will partner Karim Boudiaf and Hassan Al Haydos. Almoez Ali will lead the line alongside Akram Afif.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Al Sheeb; Al Rawi, Koukhi, Abdelkarim Hassan, Ahmed; Pedro Miguel, Hatem, Boudiaf, Ahmed; Al Haydos; Afif, Alia

Senegal

Senegal will be delighted to welcome Abdou Diallo back into the side for this game. He went off with muscle cramps against the Netherlands, but the team management have confirmed that he is fit to return for this game. However, Senegal will be without the services of Cheikhou Kouyate due to an injury.

Edouard Mendy could be dropped after a poor showing against the Netherlands. Seny Dieng could replace him in the starting eleven. The back four will comprise of Youssouf Sabaly and Abdou Diallo as the full-backs. Kalidou Koulibaly will partner Pape Abou Cisse in the heart of the defence.

Idrissa Gana Gueye and Nampalys Mendy will be the midfield pivot, and they will look to keep things tight in the middle and break up the Qatar play.

Krepin Diatta, Ismaila Sarr will be the wingers, and they will look to drag the Qatar defence out of position with their runs, pace and flair. Badou Ndiaye will act as the number ten and will look to link up with the attack and open up defences with his key passing. Finally, Boulaye Dia will lead the line for Senegal.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Dieng; Sabaly, Cisse, Koulibaly, Diallo; Idrissa Gueye, Nampalys Mendy; Diatta, Ndiaye, Ismaila Sarr; Dia

Key Stats

  • Qatar could become the fourth World Cup host eliminated in the first round of the World Cup after Switzerland, Chile and South Africa in 1954, 1962 and 2010 respectively.
  • Qatar became the first host nation to lose their opening game in the FIFA World Cup.
  • Qatar were the first nation in 52 years not to score in their opening game of the FIFA World Cup.
  • Senegal are without a clean sheet in their last eight World Cup matches.
  • Senegal registered 15 shots against the Netherlands (their second-highest in a World Cup match).

Player to Watch

Ismaila Sarr

Embed from Getty Images

Senegal are unfortunate to be without their best player Sadio Mane at the 2022 FIFA World Cup after he picked up an injury just before the marquee event while playing for Bayern Munich. In his absence, Sarr is Senegal’s prime goalscoring threat, and he looked lively against the Netherlands.

He will be determined to get on the scoresheet here and punish Qatar’s porous backline. And who knows, Sarr might be able to attract the clubs that pursued him in the summer with a convincing performance at the World Cup.

Prediction

Qatar 1-2 Senegal

Qatar will be desperate to bounce back strongly, and they are expected to perform better than they did against Ecuador last time out. However, they are simply not good enough at this level and are likely to struggle against a hungry Senegal side.

The Africa Cup of Nations champions have enough firepower to get past Qatar, and they should get back to winning ways here. However, it will be a close contest and The Hard Tackle predicts the African giants to edge this game 2-1.

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