Senegal will be looking to create a major World Cup upset as they face 1966 winners in Gareth Southgate’s England but may be without key player Aliou Cisse and midfield general Idrissa Gueye. The former is sidelined due to illness and the latter suspended after picking up a second yellow card against Ecuador in their final group match.
“He (Cisse) has been sick for a couple of days now and he let us take charge of training yesterday obviously with his instructions,” assistant coach Regis Bogaert told reporters on Saturday.
“Beating England would be a tremendous achievement, I don’t know how important it would rate compared to the victory in 2002, that was important as well. If we can beat a team like England it sends out a very strong message about the progress we have made.”
England and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice refused to take the current African champions for granted and played down the tag of firm favourites: “Senegal are a really strong, athletic team, with some really good individual players. They are a really good team. It’s the first time we’ve played them since I’ve been in the set-up and we know it’s going to be a tough test.”
England have faced African opposition 20 times, including seven at a World Cup, and have yet to lose.
England-Senegal: key stats
After Marcus Rashford’s second goal in their 3-0 win over Wales, England became the seventh team to reach the milestone of 100 World Cup goals after Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, France and Spain.
Senegal have reached the World Cup knockout stage for the second time. Their previous last 16 appearance came in 2002, when coach Aliou Cisse was captain.
England are unbeaten against African opposition in all 21 meetings. At the World Cup, they have won three and drawn three times against teams from Africa.
England-Senegal: previous meetings
This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
England-Senegal: AS USA prediction
Eng 2-1 Senegal (AET)