The second match in Group A takes place between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al Thumama Stadium, which is set to host eight matches during this World Cup. The Dutch are the odds-on favourites to win this group and despite Sadio Mané now being ruled out of the tournament Senegal are still second favourites to qualify. They are the highest ranked African side in the competition at 18th in the world.
Crack down on the numbers below from their European qualifying and the Africa Cup of Nations respectively to pick a bet builder. It covers goals, assists, shots, shots on target, corners, cards and fouls. A lot right? Well I’ve even got a Stats Pack Guide to help you too.
The Dutch are expected to lineup in a 3-4-3 formation with Nathan Ake and Virgil Van Dijk part of a three man defence.
The big news in attack is the confirmation that leading goal scorer from their qualifying campaign Memphis Depay will be on the bench after enduring some recent injury problems. Luuk de Jong and Vincent Jansen will be competing for the starting spot upfront.
Senegal talisman and runner up in the Ballon d’Or Sadio Mané is ruled out of the tournament. They will desperately miss his leadership, firepower and quality. Replacing him upfront is likely to be Boulaye Dia who has been in reasonable form for Italian Serie A side Salernitana this season.
Senegal should employ a 4-3-3 system with their key players now goalkeeper Edoaurd Mendy and centre back Kalidou Koulibaly .
The Netherlands breezed through qualifying and scored an impressive 33 goals in 10 matches. Only England and Germany scored more times in European qualifying. They only lost one match in their qualifying campaign which was away vs Turkey 2-4.
Their xG per match was 3.20, so their offensive statistics seem perfectly legitimate. The Dutch averaged 7.70 corners per 90 mins which is very high. Per 90 mins they whacked in monstrous 23.50 shots, of which 9.0 were on target.
Senegal averaged 13.14 shots per 90 mins in the Africa Cup of Nations but only converted those into 1.29 goals per game. Their xG of 1.59 per 90 mins was much higher so they underachieved in front of goal.
At the other end of the field Senegal were defensively very assured, only conceding an average of 0.29 goals per match and this correlates with a low xGA per 90 mins of just 0.89. Impressively, they only conceded 1.71 SOT against per match and their overall statistics point towards a watertight defence.
Player shots and shots on target
Memphis Depay was the leading scorer for the Netherlands during their qualifying campaign and it’s no surprise to see him lead their stats with both shots and shots on target. He is going to be on the bench for this match though and its unknown how many minutes he will get. Donyell Malen is ranked next on the list but hasn’t even been selected in the Dutch squad for this World Cup!
The player to keep an eye out for is the impressive Cody Gakpo, who only made three appearances during qualifying. The PSV marksman averaged 4.44 shots per 90 mins and should play a prominent role for the Netherlands in this match. Steven Berghuis is expected to start on the right wing but it’s worth noting that he has a low SOT rate per 90 mins of just 1.35.
Sadio Mané is ruled out of this World Cup, but it is interesting to note that in qualifying he averaged less than 1.83 shots per 90 mins. Of those expected to start this match, Watford’s Ismaila Sarr could be one to eye up to try multiple shots. He is quite a selfish individual player who will try his luck and averaged 2.67 shots per match during the qualifying campaign.
The enigma of Bamba Dieng, who has only played 169 minutes for Marseille this season could be one to watch. He loves to shoot and averages 5.0 attempts per 90 mins, with 1.82 on target.
Player goals & assists
Memphis Depay was the runaway leading scorer for the Netherlands during qualifying. He also supplied six assists which topped their charts. If and when he comes off the bench in this match, then he’s a massive danger to Senegal and could definitely make something happen.
Cody Gakpo is the obvious candidate to score or assist for the Dutch. He had limited appearances in qualifying, but he is going to start in a prominent attacking position and should get opportunities. Elsewhere, former Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen could be one to watch. He weighed in with four goals and four assists during qualifying and will offer a major creative threat from midfield.
With Sadio Mané out of contention then it makes sense to focus on the likely starting front three for Senegal, Boulaye Dia, Ismaila Sar and Bamba Dieng.
Dia is an interesting prospect because he has often started on the right wing for his country but will likely get the nod in a centre forward spot here.
Mané led Senegal for assists in the African Nations Cup earlier this year and there is no obvious candidate to take over from him in this department.
The Netherlands were quite a clean team during qualifying and only received 13 yellow cards. Wing backs Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries topped their cards list and Dumfries averaged 1.86 fouls per 90 mins. This is generally not a dirty team though and not known for its ill-discipline.
Fouls did tend to come from the midfield, with Wijnaldum and Gravenberch adding some grit. They may not be starting, but that aggressive approach must be replaced by someone – Klaassen or Frenkie De Jong could do the dirty work.
Ismaila Sarr was the most fouled player in qualifying for Senegal, at an average of 4.67. This makes sense because he is a high flair player with a lot of skill who tends to take on defenders in several duels. Daley Blind could have his hands full against him here.
Left wing back Fode Ballo Toure is expected to start for Senegal and his clash with Dumfries might also be one to keep an eye on.
Matchups to watch
Daley Blind vs Ismaila Sarr
Denzel Dumfries vs Fode Ballo Toure
Davy Klaassen vs Pape Sarr/Nampalys Mendy
Cheickhou Kouyate picked up two yellow cards in qualifying and averaged 1.70 fouls per match. He was also carded twice in their African Nations Cup campaign. It is difficult to know if he will start or not, but if he does then he is a major candidate for both fouls and a booking.
Denzel Dumfries was on average fouled more than any other Dutchman during qualifying and once again his potential matchup vs both Bamba Dieng and Fode Ballo Toure would attract some interest. Senegal only averaged 1.71 cards for per 90 mins and are generally a clean team.
Though someone will need to try and keep Cody Gakpo quiet, and Everton defensive midfield Idrissa Gueye would seem the ideal man for the job – he’s received 3 cards in 10 for his club.
Matchups to watch
Cheickhou Kouyate/Nampalys Mendy vs Frenkie De Jong
Idrissa Gueye vs Cody Gakpo
Fode Ballo Toure vs Denzel Dumfries