- Ecuador v Senegal
- Tuesday November 29, 2022, 10:00 ET
- At Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Ecuador needs a draw to get through to the World Cup Round of 16, but they have been the best team in the Group so far and are a solid pick to win their final Group A match.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking the odds on the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that bookmakers and bettors are playing it safe ahead of this game. Ecuador is rated as the +145 favorites, but Senegal is not far behind on +210, while the draw is also conservatively priced at +215
|Ecuador v Senegal|
World Cup Group A Betting Briefing
The final round of Group games at a World Cup can be the most dramatic, but can also be the most tactical, and there have been some notorious examples over the years of teams contriving mutually satisfactory results at this stage of the competition.
Fortunately for fans watching this game, one of the two teams here needs to win. Senegal are third in the Group, a point behind Ecuador, so anything less than a win here will see them go home before the knockout stages. Alternatively, it is still possible for either of these teams to win the Group, although that will depend on the Netherlands failing to beat Qatar in the other Group A game.
The importance of winning Group A, however, has diminished, given the way that Group B has developed. The two Groups are paired for the Round of 16 with the winner of this Group playing the runner-up in Group B, but that Group’s best two teams, England and the USA look well matched, so finishing top of this section may not represent much of an advantage.
Ecuador Face Dilemma
Ecuador has been the most impressive team in Group A so far, but head coach Gustavo Alfaro faces a dilemma going into their final Group game.
The South Americans are level on points with the Netherlands at the top of the Group, and will definitely go through to the knockout stages if they avoid defeat here against Senegal. Defeat in this game, however, would almost certainly see them knocked out of the competition, unless Qatar can somehow beat the Netherlands by a greater margin in their final game: an unlikely outcome.
So far, they have been defensively solid, whilst also being the most convincing attacking force in the tournament, easily brushing aside Qatar in the competition’s opening game and deserving more than the draw that they earned against the Netherlands. Given their strong performances in this Group to date, Alfaro may not change his team’s approach here, and trust them to maintain their form.
Senegal Need More
Senegal’s reliance on Sadio Mane has been underlined once again, as without their talismanic captain, one of the world’s best strikers, they have been largely ineffective in attack. In his absence, they have relied on defensive solidity and organization and have been relatively successful.
They matched the Netherlands in their opening game and probably deserved a point from that match, although they were arguably a little fortunate to beat Qatar in their second, as the host nation came close a few times and created roughly the same number of chances.
Manager Aliou Cisse is now faced with a different challenge. Remaining defensively solid won’t be enough here as they need to force a win, so we may see more adventurous tactics, particularly if Ecuador plays it safe. The challenge for Cisse’s team will be to create enough chances to give themselves a reasonable hope of scoring goals. Based on Expected Goals, their attacking performances so far have been worth 0.9 (v Netherlands) and 0.8 (v Senegal). Much more is needed here.
World Cup Group A Match Betting
Tactics inevitably play a part in games like this, but as many coaches have found over the years, it is dangerous to believe that your team can control the outcome of a game, particularly if they change their tactics and approach markedly in order to achieve that.
The danger for Ecuador would be in trying to change their way of playing in order to secure the draw that they need. They are the stronger team and sticking to the existing game plan seems the best way to go.
By contrast, Senegal will have little choice but to be more adventurous, and that will leave them more exposed in defense. If the game is level in the closing minutes, we might expect Ecuador not to take any risks, but based on what we’ve seen so far, they are the better team and offer some value in the match betting markets to win their final game.
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