Senegal – Group H – Overview and Senegal betting tips
Senegal ensured they were the a CAF World Cup 2018 participant at Russia after a fine qualifying campaign meant they qualified for only their second ever tournament. Their only previous time at the showpiece event is one that many fans may remember, way back in 2002. The African side shocked football when they beat world champions France in the group stage in a side inspired by the likes of Papa Bouba Diop and El-Hadji Diouf who would go on to become well-known names in the Premier League.
Well, the class of 2018 will be hopeful of reaching the quarter-final stage as the 2002 side did and they certainly have the capabilities to do so with the likes of Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly in their ranks.
Here at OpenOdds we will give you the lowdown on everything about the World Cup 2018 Senegal team, from Senegal betting odds to an in-depth look at their star men and just what sort of impact they could make at Russia.
Senegal prediction: How well will they do?
As a third seed in the draw, Senegal will be delighted with the group that they were given as they managed to avoid the major big hitters at the tournament. However, with Poland, Colombia and Japan to play this is by no means an easy group and is probably the toughest to call. All four sides have clear strengths and weaknesses and whilst Japan are looking most likely to struggle, you could make a case for any nation advancing to the knockout stage.
Therefore, Senegal will be hoping their big players step up and really make a mark and they have a lot of quality in the attacking third that will make them a dangerous opponent. The obvious standout is Liverpool’s Mane who really has established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League and you suspect he will be crucial to how the side play.
With Monaco’s Balde Keita and the explosive M’Baye Niang supporting him, this is an attack that deserves respect. Defensively, Napoli’s Koulibaly is arguably the number one defender in Europe whilst Idrissa Gueye and Cheikh Kouyate are Premier League players that offer good protection in midfield.
Yet, the issue for Senegal is the depth and unfortunately they don’t have the quality in key areas to back up those talented players. The rest of the XI will be made up of hardworking but limited players and that may tell against accomplished teams like Poland and Colombia who have experienced major tournaments as a squad over the years.
So, whilst we expect Senegal to make it very competitive and we would never completely dismiss them because of the individual brilliance that they have further up the field, it’s hard to say they will progress.
That means we will tip Senegal to finish 3rd in Group H which can be taken at 9/4 with SkyBet and looks a very fair price, with the UEFA and CONMEBOL sides just edging ahead of the African side. Again though, we would stress this is a very tough group to call and fine margins are likely to decide it. Senegal to finish third – 9/4
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Journey to the World Cup — Who did Senegal beat to qualify?
Well, Senegal’s journey to Russia was anything but quiet even if they did make light work of their qualifying group that included South Africa, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso. Ultimately, Aliou Cisse’s team topped their group with four wins and two draws from their section which saw them comfortably come through.
However, one game was marred by a match fixing accusation. Senegal had played against South Africa in November 2017 and lost the game 2-1 courtesy of an incredible handball penalty call after the ball had hit Koulibaly on the knee. FIFA subsequently banned the referee for life for match manipulation and ordered for the game to be replayed.
Had that result stood it would’ve ensured a nervy final few games for Senegal but they won the replay and went through the campaign undefeated, topping the group by five points in the end. Given the tough, competitive nature of CAF qualifying, particularly away games, this should highlight the potential of this Senegal team.
Best players for Senegal: Who should you be betting on?
We’ve already touched upon the star men in Senegal’s team and but they do have a few superstars in this team. A lot of responsibility will be on Mane in the final third and even though he only managed one goal in the qualifying campaign you can expect him to deliver in Russia. His pace and power are too much for most defenders to handle and for the national team he is given a license to operate in various positions going forward so can appear across the frontline.
He will be heading to Russia on the back of an excellent season with Liverpool and that will only help his confidence approaching the big games, so we are more than happy to recommend Mane to be the top Senegal scorer at odds of 3/1 with Bet Victor.
Some punters may be tempted by the 80/1 on offer for Mane to be top scorer in the tournament however Senegal’s chances of progressing to the latter stages look slim so that’s not a great bet. His status in the team will mean that he is also the man when it comes to taking the crucial set-pieces and he is obviously going to play every minute for the team if he is fit so he really should give us a good run for our money on that.
If you’re looking for some value, then former West Ham striker Diafra Sakho could be worth considering in the same market at 8/1 although his game time is likely to be shared out with Stoke City’s Mame Biram Diouf.
Elsewhere, the goals are unlikely to come from the midfield although one area Senegal could dominate is in the air off set-pieces. West Ham fans will know all about Kouyate’s ability in the air whilst Koulibaly is one of several defenders who are very strong aerially.
Best Odds Available at BetVictor
Who manages Senegal?
The manager of Senegal is another name that English football fans will remember. Aliou Cisse spent time in the Premier League with Birmingham City and Portsmouth after that successful 2002 World Cup where he was actually the captain of the national team. Therefore, he is well-respected in Senegal and after finishing as a player he was given a chance in the U23 side before stepping up to manage the senior side in 2015.
However, his side didn’t have a great African Cup of Nations in 2015 where they fell at the quarter-final stage to Cameroon on penalties. Nevertheless, they stuck by the manager and will expect a very competitive side in Russia given the talent he has at his disposal. But, that will bring a lot of pressure on the young manager who has certainly been thrown in at the deep end.
Why bet on Senegal?
Overall, this World Cup team Senegal 2018 have the potential to be very exciting and could be one to watch.
With pace all over the pitch and a lot of attacking talent, they are dangerous opposition and should play their part in one of the most exciting groups at Russia even if it doesn’t have the biggest names.
It’s going to be tough but there might be some good value on Senegal for the individual games and they have the potential to beat anyone – just like the country managed back in 2002.
Best Odds Available at Betway