England’s World Cup odyssey continues in Al Khor this evening when they meet the African champions, Senegal, in the Round of 16 at the Al Bayt Stadium.
Today’s knockout tie is the first-ever meeting between the Three Lions and the Lions of Teranga though there will be much more than pride at stake, and a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with France could await the victors.
Below, you can dive headfirst into my stats pack for this evening’s monumental showdown which contains key info on a wide variety of statistics and metrics from both sides’ World Cup journeys so far. Use the data in conjunction with my Stats Pack Guide to strengthen your bet builder coupons later today.
England swept Wales aside 3-0 in their final group assignment, though several impressive individual performances from stand-ins against the Dragons have given Gareth Southgate a selection headache today.
Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden, in particular, turned heads against Wales and both attackers could keep their places in Southgate’s XI today. In that scenario, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling would both be kept in reserve again.
Holding midfielder Idrissa Gueye is suspended for Senegal today after he picked up a suspension-triggering yellow card against Ecuador. Leicester City’s Nampalys Mendy could replace Gueye in the anchorman role today.
Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest’s Cheikhou Kouyate is nursing an ankle complaint and won’t feature. Chelsea’s Eduoard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly will give the Senegalese rearguard a distinct Premier League flavour today.
England’s group stage campaign was bookended by two terrific attacking performances against Iran and Wales, in which the Three Lions scored nine times, posted a combined xG of 5.42 and mustered 31 shots.
Their matchday two clash with the USA (0-0) was the void in between, where the team’s thrust abandoned them completely, and that display served to remind everyone that England can get stuck in the mud on occasion.
England are the only team in Qatar yet to pick up a card, while just a couple of sides can better their shots against per 90 figures (1.33).
Despite scoring five goals to England’s nine in the group phase, Senegal averaged slightly more shots per 90 than the Three Lions (13.66 to 13.00), while the sides’ xG for figures were almost identical (1.70 to 1.76).
Africa’s best team have accumulated six bookings in Qatar however, and that haul combined with their 12 fouls committed per game average hints at an aggressive edge that could be taken advantage of in the markets. Senegal have also won at least six corners in every World Cup fixture so far.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Marcus Rashford’s figures in both shot metrics are jaw-dropping, though the 25-year-old’s start against Wales on matchday three was his first at the World Cup and excitement over his output should be tempered slightly.
Nevertheless, Man-of-the-Match Rashford managed six attempts against Wales last week, which is the most any England player has hit in a single World Cup fixture so far.
Phil Foden clocked five shots against the Dragons and the clamour for both he and Rashford to start again is understandable given their impact. Harry Kane, who has had four attempts in total in Qatar, has been unusually shot-shy by comparison.
In injured star Sadio Mane’s absence, Boulaye Dia (2.19) and Ismaila Sarr (2.83) – both of whom have started three games out of three for Senegal – have been doing their utmost to carry the mantle in attack.
Bamba Dieng (4.91) – who has completed just 53 minutes from three substitute appearances – has been menacing from the bench and the 22-year-old could be a nuisance against tired legs in the second half if he is introduced again.
Player Goals and Assists
Despite starting just once, Marcus Rashford is among the front runners in the race to win the Golden Boot in Qatar and the 25-year-old is one of six England players to have notched at the World Cup so far.
Harry Kane’s name is conspicuous by its absence, though the 29-year-old has laid on three goals for his teammates. Luke Shaw meanwhile, ranks top for shot-creating actions (10), just ahead of Jude Bellingham (nine).
Five different Senegalese players have chipped into the Lions of Teranga’s five-goal World Cup haul, though Watford winger Ismaila Sarr tops the pile for individual xG (1.2).
Iliman Ndiaye and Ismail Jakobs have claimed an assist each (both vs Qatar), though that man Sarr has been Senegal’s chief creative force with 14 shot-creating actions. Right-back Youssouf Sabaly is just one behind him on 13 however, and his 0.6 xG figure in Qatar suggests he deserves to be watched closely by English defenders and punters alike.
England’s record has been squeaky clean in Qatar, though their good-boy image could be tarnished when dealing with the potent counter-attacking threat posed by Senegal today.
Harry Maguire (1.43), John Stones (three fouls total) and Luke Shaw (two fouls total) are among those likeliest to be put under pressure on transitions.
Mason Mount (2.22) could be dragged across and into some rearguard action on the left flank against a dangerous Senegalese combo down that side.
Ismaila Sarr has been fouled a calf-crunching 4.64 times per 90 in Qatar and his searing pace and direct running from out to in could spell trouble for John Stones, who should be England’s right-sided centre-half today.
Youssouf Sabaly’s (2.33) swashbuckling runs forward and lethal crossing ability will need to be watched closely by awkward tackler, Mason Mount.
One of Krépin Diatta or Iliman Ndiaye should be deployed on the right wing for Senegal this evening and both forwards have enough in their armoury to concern no-nonsense left-back Luke Shaw.
Match-Ups to watch
John Stones vs Ismaila Sarr
Luke Shaw vs Krépin Diatta/Iliman Ndiaye
Mason Mount vs Youssouf Sabaly
Eight Senegal players have committed three or more fouls at the World Cup compared to England’s four, which suggests your prime card candidates today should be found in the African nation’s ranks.
Holding midfielders Pathe Ciss (2.73 fouls p/90) and Nampalys Mendy (2.00) should be busy as bees while screening the Senegalese defence this evening while 31-year-old centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been averaging 2.7 tackles and 0.7 fouls per game, catches the eye in defence.
Mason Mount ranks joint-second for England alongside Harry Kane for fouls suffered in Qatar (six each) and both players could draw more mistimed tackles in different areas of the pitch today.
Mount should be firmly on Pathe Ciss’s radar, while Kane will have Koulibaly breathing down his neck, particularly during phases of play when the striker is providing passing options with his back to goal.
Elsewhere, key tempo-setter Jude Bellingham (fouled three times) could be knocked out of his rhythm by the energetic Nampalys Mendy.
Match-Ups to watch
Pathe Ciss vs Mason Mount
Kalidou Koulibaly vs Harry Kane
Nampalys Mendy vs Jude Bellingham