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Qatar v Senegal: Team news, squads, analysis and kick-off times

Qatar v Senegal: Team news, squads, analysis and kick-off times

Qatar v Senegal: Team news, squads, analysis and kick-off times

The opening night was tough for Qatar. After more than a decade of build-up, the team has repositioned itself.

The criticism was harsh and the game, especially the first half, deserved it. But they are capable of better things; they won the Asian Cup in 2019 and were semi-finalists in the Gold Cup most recently in 2021. It wasn’t until the second half that we saw that kind of quality when they managed to have consistent possession.

Against Senegal, we have to see if it was just the immense pressure that Qatar exerted against Ecuador. Without the fear of the premiership, we can see more of the expansive football that Felix Sanchez has tried to instill over the past few years. However, they will need to put their leading lights, namely Afif and Ali, in better positions in attack.

As for Senegal, the lack of cutting-edge skills against the Netherlands and the absence of record goalscorer Mane loom over the squad. A moment of indecision cost them the game and that adds to the pressure here; they must win. But Cisse’s African champions are strong in every direction and their hard-hitting approach to pressing could lead to mistakes, especially if Qatar have not lost their nerves early in the tournament.

With Saar set to be a thorn in the side for the Dutch in the first leg, he will see his chances with more space against Qatar. Senegal should win here comfortably, even if Qatar are more competitive than they were against Ecuador. But as Saudi Arabia showed on Tuesday, there can be surprises at the World Cup.





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