Thursday, September 20, 2018

Prediction: Poland vs Senegal

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 27/20

Bookmaker: bet365

With Colombia and Japan also in their group, both Poland and Senegal will be hoping for a bright start to the 2018 World Cup and their respective triumphs in final warm-up games should give us a hint of what to expect in Tuesday’s encounter at Otkrytiye Arena.

Poland

The Polish national team reached its peak back in the ’70’s and ’80’s, when they finished third at 1974 and 1982 World Cup finals, but they have since failed to get past the first knockout stage. After crashing out in the group phase in 2002 and 2006, the White and Reds failed to qualify for next two tournaments, before impressing to win their 2018 World Cup qualifying group ahead of Denmark, Montenegro and Romania.

Poland have since failed to impress in first few warm-up games, sharing spoils with Uruguay before suffering back to back defeats to Mexico and Nigeria, but the team have managed to show improvement of late. Artur Nawalka’s men defeated Korea Republic (3-2) and Lithuania (4-0) while sharing spoils with Chile (2-2) in their final three warm-up games and they definitely seem well prepared for the tournament in Russia. With all key men raring to go, we can see the Polish enjoying a strong start to the 2018 World Cup.

Team News

There were no major surprises in Adam Nawalka’s World Cup squad, apart from the fact that Bartosz Bialkowski was preferred to Lukasz Skorupski.

Important defender Kamil Glik misses out with a shoulder problem and latest reports suggest that Nawalka will use four players at the back despite pondering a three-man back line.

Senegal

Despite reaching the quarter-finals on their debut World Cup appearance in 2002, Senegal had to wait no fewer than 16 years for another chance to prove their worth at the biggest stage. The Lions of Teranga did not have the best of starts to their qualifying campaign, but they showed massive improvement to win their group ahead of Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and South Africa, winning last three World Cup qualifiers.

The Lions of Teranga were pretty disappointing in their first four warm-up fixtures, sharing spoils with Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Luxembourg, before losing to Croatia, but they showed improvement to beat Korea Republic in the dress rehearsal for the Poland game. Senegal have got several very good players in the squad with Sadio Mane, Cheikhou Kouyate and Kalidou Koulibaly expected to lead by example, but Diafra Sakho, M’Baye Niang, Ismaila Sarr and Balde Keita also have the potential to shine in Russia.

Team News

Sadio Mane and Diafra Sakho are set to start up front, while Ismaila Sarr and M’Baye Niang will be providing support from the wings.

Key Factors to Consider

  • The two teams have never met before
  • Robert Lewandowski scored 16 goals in 10 2018 World Cup qualifiers
  • Senegal making their second World Cup appearance
  • The Lions of Teranga reached the last 8 on their debut
  • Poland scored 2 or more goals in last three warm-up games

Conclusion

Senegal have failed to impress after booking a ticket to Russia and they could struggle to match the in-form Poland, with Robert Lewandowski likely to make life difficult for Koulibaly and Sane. We, therefore, expect the Poles to emerge victorious.

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 27/20

Bookmaker: bet365

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