England vs Senegal Preview

The Round of Sixteen has begun and England and Senegal are part of the fourth fixture of this round. England secured top spot on their final Matchday as Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden starred in a 3-0 win over Wales. Senegal qualified through Kalidou Koulibaly’s strike against Ecuador to send the AFCON champions through. Now they play each other in an attempt to reach the Quarter Finals against either France or Australia who play earlier tomorrow. Here’s all you need to know:

England and Senegal Team News:


Gareth Southgate seems to have access to his full squad. He was able to take off crucial players such as Shaw, Rice and Kane, completely rest Sterling, Mount and Saka while giving crucial minutes to Walker, Rashford, Foden and Phillips and brief cameos from Wilson, Grealish and Trent. All the while hammering Wales 3-0. The only outfield players yet to feature at all are the recovering James Maddison and the covering Conors – Gallagher and Coady. I expect England will not spring many surprises bar the wide forwards in their fixture against Senegal.


Senegal are of course sorely missing the clinical and talismanic Sadio Mane. But in his absence, the rises of Ismaila Sarr and Krepin Diatta have given Senegal the required boost and magic required to qualify. However, Senegal will miss two midfield powerhouses. The controversial Idrissa Gueye is suspended and the ever-present Cheikhou Kouyate has not trained through an injury sustained on Matchday 1.

England Predicted XI:

England will keep the spine of the team the same. I can confidently predict that Pickford, Stones, Maguire and Shaw will all start. I would expect Walker to keep his place due to the pace Senegal offer on the counter.

Rice and Bellingham will also remain in the team and I would like to see Phillips start this game if he is fit to do so. Henderson, while he worked hard, didn’t inspire me with confidence and Mount was hit and miss against the USA. Grealish could play in the 10 role but I think Gareth will play slightly hesitantly to avoid being counter attacked without the numbers to cover.

Up front, Kane will lead the line. But who will provide the width? Foden and Rashford were exemplary against Wales. However, I would expect Rashford has to start on the left and a toss up between Saka, Foden and Sterling on the right. As Southgate will need runners, I would prefer Saka starts as he provides the directness England need. Sterling hasn’t been that player for a while but I would question his impact off the bench over the younger two. That is why I expect he will start.

Predicted XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Bellingham; Saka, Rashford, Kane

Predicted Score:

I do expect an England win. Senegal are seriously weakened. They proved to be suitable competitors for the Netherlands who really stuttered through their 2-0 win. But it is clear that this was just a fluke as they have grown into this tournament very well so far. I would not overestimate them but they should lose the midfield battle with two huge absentees. I can see England keeping possession, relentlessly trying to score and being direct and dangerous on the counter. They may miss the clinical edge but I would back them two score a couple.

England to win 2-1

Author: Arjun Handa

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