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England face Senegal in the 2022 World Cup last 16 on Sunday night as they look to continue their quest for World Cup glory. While Senegal, as well as every other side who made it out of the group stage, will also be dreaming of the final in two weeks’ time, they will be well aware of the difficult task in front of them.
England made it to the final at their last major tournament in 2021, and reached the semi finals at the last World Cup. Senegal have enjoyed even better tournament success recently, though, after winning the African Cup of Nations at the beginning of the year.
It’s set to be a close game with both managers having key decisions to make in relation to their respective lineups and formation.
England will have one less player to pick from for this game after defender, Ben White, left their World Cup camp early for personal reasons on Thursday. It shouldn’t be too much of a miss for England Boss, Southgate, as White had failed to register an appearance in any of the three group stage matches.
Question marks still linger around Harry Kane’s fitness after the England Captain was hacked down in England’s opening game against Iran. While he hobbled through the second game against USA he looked more like his usual self in the 3-0 win over Wales. It would be a huge shock if he missed out, despite some pundits calling for Callum Wilson to take his place.
With a clean bill of health, there are a few key decisions that has Southgate has to make. Does he stick with a back four or play a back five now the level of opposition has increased? Does he stick with Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford in his front three or revert back to Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka?
Given England are unbeaten in the tournament playing a back four, it would be surprising for Southgate to change a working system at this point. It would also be surprising if Rashford lost his place in the team considering he has three goals in the competition so far, but expect Raheem Sterling to come in for Phil Foden.
Senegal aren’t quite as fortunate when it comes to player availability. The country’s star man, Sadio Mane, was sadly ruled out of the tournament just days before it started but their woes don’t end there.
Midfield destroyer, Idrissa Gueye, is unavailable for the tie with England after picking up two bookings in the group stages while Cheikhou Koyate is still nursing an ankle injury he picked up in their opening fixture against the Netherlands.
Senegal have played a back four in all three games so far so it’s fair to expect the same this time out. Chelsea duo Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly will be tasked with keeping the likes of Kane and Rashford quiet while Isamaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia will be looking to catch England on the counter attack.
Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Bellingham, Henderson, Rashford, Kane, Sterling
Mendy, Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs, P. Gueye, N. Mendy, Ciss, Ndiaye, Dia, Sarr
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