The 2018 World Cup could prove a tournament of great importance to the nation of Senegal. Great things are subsequently expected of Aliou Cisse’s side after reaching the quarter-finals of the competition back in 2002, their only ever World Cup appearance prior to 2018.
But can this current crop of top-flight Senegalese internationals really prove their worth on the global stage this summer, or will the 2018 World Cup in Russia turn out to be yet another task too far for this talented, yet somewhat inexperienced outfit?
Senegal certainly have what it takes to successfully book their place among the latter stages of the competition. Whilst this team could prove somewhat limited by an obvious over-reliance upon Liverpool’s Sadio Mane this summer, Senegalese expectations remain decisively high.
That said, Group H offers Cisse’s side more than enough hard-nosed competition for their money. If Senegal are simply not up to the task of grinding out the hard-earned results in Russia, expect their upcoming World Cup campaign to come and go with little notice.
With the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye and Keita Balde Diao to rely upon this summer, manager Aliou Cisse arguably has little room for complaint given the surprising amount of options soon to be at his disposal.
That said, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane clearly remains Senegal’s leading figurehead when all is said and done. On the back of the striker’s alarming pace inside the final third, this team will have a dependable route of attack to fall back on in each of their upcoming Group H encounters.
World Cup betting tips expect Mane to thrive among the 2018 World Cup, potentially becoming the highest scoring African frontman within the entire competition. Via his keen eye for goal and quick feet in dangerous scenarios, the in-form 25-year-old should be rather exciting to watch in Russia.
Whilst Senegal risk becoming something of a one-man-team in relation to Sadio Mane’s obvious prowess amongst the rest of the squad, perhaps he alone could soon represent Senegal’s best all-round chance of qualifying from Group H this summer.
Poland – Senegal’s opening World Cup fixture is set to prove a telling one. If their combative breakout speed on the counter-attack can serve them well in this particular face-off, Poland’s remarkably immobile back-line could seemingly find themselves washed away in light of their opening Group H opposition.
Japan – Once again, Senegal have every reason to expect a promising result when they come up against the Japanese. They arguably possess far more top-flight experience than their upcoming Asian opponents, with a number of Senegal’s most recognised stars plying their trade right at the very top of the domestic European game.
Colombia – Senegal are not likely to come away smiling from this fixture, but if they can nonetheless produce an impressive number of points on the board before facing the deadly South Americans, any upcoming loss to Colombia might not affect their overall chances of progressing from the group. This match is likely to prove something of a goal-fest one way or another.
Whilst this current Senegalese squad may fail to live up to the still widely admired crop of players that achieved so much back at the 2002 World Cup, this team could soon develop their own unique sense of identity on the international stage, one that we could possibly serve to remember for quite some time to come.
World Cup betting tips expect Senegal to seal successful qualification from their upcoming Group H endeavours, but with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and Colombia’s James Rodriguez to contend with this summer, their upcoming task seemingly remains far easier said than done.