Senegal v Colombia Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
June 25, 2018
Samara Arena - World Cup Group H
Senegal face a rejuvenated Colombia side on Thursday with Group H wide open following the dramatic events of match day two. Despite being in second and third place respectively, a draw could see both sides qualify for the knockouts if Japan lose, otherwise its a head to head for the right to play England or Belgium.
The two sides produced an entraining 2-2 draw when they last met, in a 2014 international friendly. Carlos Bacca was on target for the hosts, adding to Teofilo Gutierrez's opener, before Moussa Konate and Cheikh N'Doye hit back within five minutes.
Aliou Cissé rolled the dice against Japan, swapping out Mame Biram Diouf in order to bring Badou Ndiaye in to bulk out the midfield. However, the move clearly didn't have the desired effect as the defence conceded twice, perhaps convincing the coach to change yet again.
José Pékerman on the other hand must be lauded for the wholesale changes he made for Colombia's 3-0 win over Poland, with changes made at centre-back, midfield and on the wing. James Rodriguez justified his start, having missed out in the last game, and will surely be in the first XI come Thursday.
Senegal v Colombia Preview and Predictions
Few would have predicted that come Matchday three it would be Japan and Senegal topping a group that included Poland and last-competitions quarter-finalists, Colombia. However, as it stands, the two underdogs are level on four points, with Radamel Falcao's side in need of a win to guarantee a spot in the round of 16. For England fans, Thursday's game will be one to watch, as the winner of Group H faces off against the runner-up of Group G.
Given Senegal's success in their last two games, the fact that they were underestimated seems surprising, given that the side has a top level foundation on which to build. Kalidou Koulibaly at centre-back was amongst the best defenders in Serie A last season, whilst Idrissa Gueye is a key component of Everton's midfield and Sadio Mane helped guide Liverpool to a Champions League final. Throw in the pace of M'Baye Niang up front and the option of Keita Balde Diao off the bench, the threat from Senegal should have been noted far before the competition began.
Colombia are far less of an unknown quantity, led by former Chelsea and Manchester United, and current Monaco striker Falcao. Despite the forward's poor performance in England, he notched 23 goals in France last season, and is already off the mark in the competition. With James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado on the flanks, the captain will be receiving and abundance of service, and having always relied on clever movement rather than speed or height, Falcao may cause an issue for the physically imposing centre-backs.
Without a doubt, Thursday's game will be an interesting match-up, with the two sides operating with very different styles. However, Senegal are far from the stereo-type of an African team, over-reliant on strength and power, and instead have played this competition with the the type of well-organised and intelligent football that many would characterise with the likes of Germany.
Colombia, on the other hand, are very much the typical Southern American side, with a front line full of flair and a midfield that are willing to employ nefarious means. This may have cost them against Japan, as Carlos Sanchez received a red-card in the first few minutes, but makes Pékerman's team a tricky opponents, that will cause problems for Senegal's experienced midfield.
Falcao to score anytime at 6/5
The Monaco striker is the in-from man, and is as dangerous from set pieces as open play.
Both team to score at 10/11
Even though a win will do, the two sides will be gunning for a win and may be open at the back.