The Netherlands vs Senegal: Preview, Team news - November 21 – WC2022
The Netherlands' current performances
In terms of form, the Netherlands is way better than the opponent. They have been one of the most stable teams in Europe for more than a year. Since the EURO, if other top national teams like England, France, Spain, or Germany have played erratically, coach Luis van Gaal’s squad has remained in good form in all competitions.
In their last five games, they have had four wins and one draw, scoring 10 goals and conceding 5.
In a bigger picture, they are the European team with the best performance with a 15-match unbeaten streak, in which they have won 11. In this remarkable journey, the Netherlands defeated Belgium twice, as well as Denmark, Norway, and Poland. These are all teams that are not easily defeated in the old continent.
The Netherlands also play stout defense, with captain Virgil Van Dijk an imposing presence in the middle. The Liverpool defender is having a bad season at the club, but he should be motivated because this is likely his final chance to claim World Cup glory. Barca’s midfielder, Frenkie de Jong, is the maestro of the Oranje attack, dictating the tempo and controlling the ball. These two stars, as well as the rest of the team, will undoubtedly want to give their all to help the Dutch team make an impressive comeback to the world's biggest football stage after an eight-year absence. The forthcoming match against Senegal will give them a chance to prove their ambition.
Senegal's current performances
Senegal, on the other hand, has been playing poorly, with only two wins, one defeat, and two ties in their past five games. All of these matches took place when the African team got the biggest star Mane in their squad. Today, without Bayern Munich's striker, it would be a huge challenge for them to confront the Oranje.
But to be fair, Senegal are a tough team to break down if they can play at their best. Sane’s absence is obviously a huge setback, but there are many other talented players in the squad. Coach Aliou Cisse is likely to lock things down in the back, relying on captain Kalidou Koulibaly to be hard in front of Edouard Mendy. The 30-year-old goalie lost his No. 1 goalkeeper position at Chelsea this season but remains a top talent.
Besides these world-class factors, the African representative also has talent up front in Ismaila Sarr of Watford and Famara Diedhiou of Alanyaspor. Both have scored 10 international goals, and Sarr has six EPL goals, while Diedhiou scored 11 in the last Super Lig campaign. The Lions defeated a tough Egypt team that led by Mohamed Salah in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, then beat them again in the World Cup qualifying playoffs. Senegal conceded just twice in their AFCON campaign.
In fact, the Netherlands will not have the best line-up for this match because they will likely lose their most important striker, Memphis Depay, to a muscle injury. Depay - the number one striker of the Dutch team in the World Cup summons with 42 goals - will leave a difficult gap to fill in the role of a mutant player on the wing who has the most influence on his teammates in attack.
The Dutch team won't likely have Depay's service in the upcoming match.
Not to mention De Roon, a very mobile player in midfield, also left open the opportunity to play. Therefore, the Netherlands will have to mobilize inspiration from other factors. Thankfully, they have an extremely effective Cody Gakpo in the role of Depay. He has only played 17 games since the start of the season, yet he has 12 goals and 15 assists for PSV. Gakpo promises to carry that form into tonight's encounter to assist the home team defeat Senegal.
On the other side, Senegal have been devastated by the news that star forward Sadio Mane has been ruled out of the tournament through injury. He'll be out for up to four months after surgery on Thursday to repair a tendon, and as a result, their all-time leading scorer will miss Qatar 2022. Boulaye Dia is likely to lead the attack, with Chelsea pair Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly at the other end of the pitch.
Senegal can count on the expertise of Mendy and Koulibaly.
This is the first time the two teams have encountered each other, especially in the first match of a World Cup, so both teams want to have a win for sure, as they always say: "A bad beginning makes a bad ending."
Senegal: Mendy (GK), Sabaly, Ballo-Toure, Koulibaly, Diallo, Idrissa Gueye, Ndiaye, Pape Gueye, Matar Sarr, Dia, Ismalia Sarr.
The Netherlands: Bijlow (GK), Dumfries, Ake, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Blind, Berghuis, De Jong, Klaassen, Gakpo, Bergwijn.
Senegal could prove to be a wildcard at the tournament. However, without Mane, they may not be able to lay a glove on the Dutch.
It will be a win for the European team.
Final score: Senegal 0 – 2 The Netherlands.