Group H: Poland vs Senegal - soccer world cup Preview

Two players compete for ball


We preview the final match of the first round of the group stage as Poland take on African heavyweights Senegal. 

The Lions of Teranga will have it all to do in their opening Group H encounter as they face a Polish team led by one of Europe’s deadliest finishers in Robert Lewandowski. 

The clash will take place at the 45 000 capacity Otkritie Arena situated in the heart of Russia’s capital, Moscow. Can Sadio Mane inspire the West African giants to a winning start or will Poland live up to their billing as favourites here? Let’s take a look.

Poland vs Senegal | Tuesday 19 June | Otkritie Arena (17:00)

To Win (90 Mins)
Poland 13/10
Draw 2/1
Senegal 22/10

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*Please note that this preview was compiled before pre-tournament friendlies were played.

Poland
The Poles certainly profited from a very, very weak qualifying group. Aside from Denmark, they simply had to navigate the admittedly limited threat that the likes of Montenegro, Romania, Armenia and Kazakhstan posed. 

Still, they finished top of their group on 25 points with Robert Lewandowski finishing top of the UEFA scoring charts, banging in an incredible 16 goals in just 10 matches. Of course, the Polish skipper will have to be at his lethal best if his side are to progress through what appears to be a pretty tricky group. 

While there’s plenty to rave about up front, Poland unfortunately appear to fall short at the back. Wojciech Szczesny played a decent amount of football this season at Juventus as Gianluigi Buffon’s workload was managed by the Turin giants. Still they conceded plenty of goals in a very weak qualification group – perhaps something to remember when you’re looking to have a dip on Group H fixtures.


Senegal
As a South African it was pretty disappointing to see Senegal qualify for the finals although we simply can’t deny that they are one of the – if not the best – teams in Africa at the minute. They have the potential to really upset the applecart at this tournament, although they’ve battled to live up to the hype that their team sheet generates. 

Whether or not they click at the upcoming FIFA World Cup remains to be seen. At the time of writing, they’ve still got two friendlies to play against Croatia and South Korea before heading to Russia. After beating Bafana Bafana 2-1 in their final World Cup qualifier game, the Teranga Lions drew their next three friendlies against Uzbekistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Luxembourg. 

The likes of Sadio Mane, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cheikhou Kouyate, Idrissa Gueye, Diafra Sakho and Keita Balde Diao are all likely to start in Moscow. There’s certainly more than enough pace and power to scare even the best teams in the world, let’s hope they can click into next gear before they take to the pitch in Russia. 

Verdict: Both Teams to Score (Yes) 19/20
It’s pretty tough to call a winner here. Although Poland enjoyed a solid qualifying campaign, they never really dealt with the pace, athleticism and power that has become a defining characteristic of West African football. With two stacked attacking line-ups, there are bound to be goals. Get on Both Teams to Score at a very generous 19/20.

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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