England puts itself to the test before the great hope of Africa
The European runner-up seeks the quarterfinals against an opponent who wants to reach that round for the second time in their history
MADRID, 3 Dic. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The England team, current runner-up in Europe, begins this Sunday at the Al Bayt Stadium (8:00 p.m./La1) the World Cup qualifiers in Qatar with a duel in the round of 16 against the African champion, Senegal, who will fight for give the bell and sneak in for the second time in its history in the quarterfinals of a World Cup event.
Only a goalless draw against the United States prevented Gareth Southgate's men from completing a flawless group stage in Group B, which began with an impressive win against Iran (6-2) and ended by also beating Wales (0-3). , with a brace from Rashford and another from Phil Foden, to tie first place for the first time since 2006.
With this, they closed the first phase of a World Cup with more goals (9) than any other English team in history, and with a providential Jordan Pickford who has only had to get the ball out of the back of the net three times. The good feelings invite you to dream, especially after his good performance in the Eurocup.
Only penalties against Italy prevented them from lifting their first major trophy in London last summer since 1966, when, also in front of their fans, they lifted their hitherto only World Cup. Now, they hope to make up for it and not waste their moment.
To do this, the 'Three Lions' will entrust themselves to the good moment of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, the first player since Bobby Charlton to score three goals in a major tournament for England; and its captain Harry Kane, who is still waiting to be released.
Opposite, Senegal goes to the historic event ready to continue fighting, after finishing in second position in Group A behind the Netherlands. After losing in their debut against the Dutch (0-2), the 'Leones de la Teranga' reacted by beating Qatar (1-3) and Ecuador (1-2) to get into the next phase.
Only on one occasion in their two previous participations did they manage to access the qualifiers, in Korea and Japan 2002, while in Russia 2018 the 'Fair Play', after the tie on points, goals for and goals against with Japan, prevented them from in a dramatic way to be in the second round.
At the head of all of them will be the captain of the last Senegalese team that reached the round of 16, Aliou Cissé, who from the bench assumes the responsibility of taking a new step in history. "I think the victory against France in 2002 was important and for the fans I think this is equivalent," explained the coach.
It will be an unprecedented clash between the two teams, who will seek the prize of a place in the quarterfinals, where the winner of the tie between France and Poland will await. In the African team, ten of their players play in England, an experience that they want to hold on to sign the surprise.
INGLATERRA: Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Stones, Shaw; Rice, Mount, Bellingham; Foden, Rashford y Kane.
SENEGAL: Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jacobs; Idrissa Gueye, Pathe Ciss, Ndiaye, Pape Gueye, Sarr; and Boulaye Dia.
--ARBITER: Iván Barton (SAL).
--ESTADIO: Al Bayt.