Poland and Senegal are the final two teams at the World Cup to play when they meet in Moscow. Given the expected tight nature of Group H, this is a crucial clash with both nations expecting to progress to the last 16. The game should be close and could be defined by the star men on either side with Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane the two standout players on the park.
It will also bring a contrast in styles that should make the game appealing. The African side are very strong defensively and can break at pace, whilst Poland prefer a possession based game and like to get the ball out wide and get crosses in. That makes this clash more intriguing and it is one that is very hard to call.
Here we will give you Poland vs Senegal betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key men and a Poland vs Senegal prediction for the Group H opener.
Our Poland vs Senegal Prediction: Poland 1-1 Senegal
Our Poland vs Senegal prediction tips is for a very close encounter that will see both sides getting on the scoresheet and ultimately the two sharing the points from the opener.
You can make a case for either side winning this game as they do have clear strengths, however their weaknesses are also clear. Poland are likely to have more of the ball and their midfield is technically a lot better than Senegal. Grzegorz Krychowiak and Piotr Zielinski are both fine players whilst up top Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik are both great finishers. Their issue is defensively where Kamil Glik is expected to miss out and you can’t stress how big a loss the Monaco man is. Yet, even so, they have enough going forward to win the game.
Yet, Senegal are a tough side to beat. In defence, the excellent Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the top defenders in world football whilst a tenacious three-man midfield will disrupt the rhythm of Poland. Then, you have the explosive pace and skill of Mane that can be enough to win any game.
Our recommended tip – Both teams to score
This is risky as opening games have generally been cagey so far but there is a lot of attacking talent on display that should see the goals flow in Moscow.
Poland are likely to have more possession but their lack of pace in defence and missing the commanding Glik will leave them open to the counter, exactly how Senegal want to play. They will aim to sit deep and pick them off and you can see them having chances with that plan, particularly with Poland’s full-backs, or wing-backs if they play a back three, leaving space. Going the other end, with the likes of Zielinski, Milik and obviously Lewandowski, it’s a safe enough to think they will score.
The game at the Otkrytie Arena will be the first time the sides from the different continents have met which isn’t surprising given the fact neither are World Cup regulars over the years.
As for their recent form, they have arrived in Russia in contrasting form. Poland did do well in their final three friendly games but it was against modest opposition, whilst defeats to Mexico and Nigeria in the last year are concerning. Meanwhile, Senegal have only lost once in their last ten, but three consecutive draws in 2018 against Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Luxembourg would’ve worried manager Aliou Cisse.
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Players to watch – Robert Lewandowski & Sadio Mane
We’ve mentioned the two stars in this game and they have to be the ones to watch. Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski needs no introduction and is the main man for his country. His superb all-round game and coolness in front of goal mean he will be the major threat for Senegal and his battle with Koulibaly could be epic. Despite his quality, his major tournament record isn’t great and that’s something he will look to rectify starting against the African nation.
As for Senegal, Liverpool’s Mane is their chief threat. His pace, power, skill and ability to work himself chances has seen him light up the Premier League and Champions League this season and he will be in Russia on the back of a fine campaign. Poland’s sluggish defence could have a torrid afternoon if Mane gets the right service.