Euro 2020 finalist England comes in as a heavy favorite against the West African side.
History would also seem to favor manager Gareth Southgate’s team. England has faced African opposition 20 times, including seven World Cup matches, and has yet to lose.
But as we’ve acknowledged repeatedly in our Qatar 2022 coverage, this tournament has proven that a surprise outcome is always on the table.
Although African nations have lost eight of their nine World Cup knockout round games against European sides, the lone exception was one that featured Senegal’s current manager, Aliou Cisse.
The 46-year-old Cisse played for Senegal in its victory over Sweden at the 2002 World Cup to reach the quarterfinals, just a few games after having beaten 1998 winner France in the tournament opener. He’s surely drawn on that experience in coaching up his squad.
Senegal will be without key midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who is suspended following two yellow cards in the group stage, and star attacker Sadio Mané, who was ruled out for the Lions of Teranga ahead of the tournament with a knee injury.
Senegal could also be without Cisse, who has come down with an illness.
England finished top of its group, twice winning convincingly against Iran and Wales and drawing with the US Men’s National team.
Although star striker Harry Kane has yet to score for England, Southgate’s team has still scored nine goals in three matches, with notable contributions from Marcus Rashford, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka.
“Senegal will be tough,” Southgate said, per Reuters. “They’re very well organized, they’ve got a lot of good individual players playing in big European leagues and their expectations now will rise.”
The two sides clash at 2 p.m. ET at the Al Bayt Stadium.