By: Jason Green
Date: Tuesday June 19th
Time: 4:00 PM
Match Odds: Poland +135 / Senegal +240 / Draw +210
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Poland and Senegal face off in the last group phase match and this is the first time these teams have ever met. Poland is the betting favorite in the match and they are the 8th ranked team in the world according to FIFA with Senegal ranked 27th.
Both Poland and Senegal were solid in their respective World Cup Qualifying groups and each won in their WC tune up matches each keeping a clean sheet. The main storyline in this match is the solid Senegal defense taking on the solid attack of the Polish led by Robert Lewandowski.
Senegal reached the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002, which is the best ever showing for an African nation, as none have ever reached the semifinals.
Poland won eight of 10 matches in the qualifying process and Lewandowski was the leading scorer in European qualifying with 16 goals. He will have a tall task in scoring facing a Senegal team that played a six-man defensive back with the two defensive minded midfielders of Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gueye. The defense is anchored by Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and in the squad’s last five matches before Russia they only conceded two goals.
Senegal does not have a great attack, but with their defense they will have counter-attack chances and in their last friendly they beat a Korean Republic team that is featured in Russia.
Poland has a solid midfield with the likes of Jakub Blaszczykowski from Wolfsburg and Grzegorz Krychowiak from West Bromwich. They likely have the advantage in the midfield, which will key in this match thwarting the counter-attack and getting the ball up front to Lewandowski.
Poland has the attack, but their defense has to play better than they did in a couple of friendlies leading up to the World Cup where they gave up two goals apiece in two matches facing Korea Republic and Chile.
Sadio Mane of Liverpool leads the Senegal attack and with the pace the squad has they may give the Poles problems. Still, time of possession will be key in this match and while Poland has the better midfield Senegal has the better defense. While Poland has Lewandowski and a good attack up front in an interesting fact in their last three World Cup Tournaments they have only scored a grand total of one goal when facing an African squad.
Last Three Matches
3/27/18 Poland 3 Korean Republic 2 (Friendly)
6/8/18 Poland 2 Chile 2 (Friendly)
6/12/18 Poland 4 Lithuania 0 (Friendly)
5/31/18 LUxembOurg 0 Senegal 0 (Friendly)
6/8/18 Croatia 2 Senegal 1 (Friendly)
6/11/18 Senegal 2 Korean Republic 0 (Friendly)
Prediction: Both teams come into this match and the World Cup in general with confidence and with good reason. Poland has the attack and a great attacker in Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski and Senegal has a solid defense. This will be an exciting match to watch with teams with contrasting styles and it will end in a 2-2 draw with each squad taking a point.