- Senegal v Netherlands
- Monday, November 21, 2022, 11:00 ET
- At the Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar
The Netherlands are the favorites to dominate World Cup Group A, but they face an early test of their credentials against the best team in Africa.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks the Netherlands are the strong favorites with World Cup bettors, and are rated as low as -155 with some bookies. Senegal may be the AFCON 2021 winners, but they aren’t given much of a chance in this game, at odds of up to +500 and the draw is also relatively high, being priced at between +265 and +270.
|Senegal v Netherlands|
World Cup Group A Betting Briefing
Group A is one of the tougher sections in the World Cup, given that both Netherlands and Senegal are ranked inside the FIFA top 15, and the underdog of the Group, Qatar, could have a big advantage in home conditions. The prize for winning the Group, however, is a Second Round match up against the runners-up of Group B, which, at least on paper, looks like being either Wales or the USA. So while a draw might usually be a mutually beneficial result when the two Group favorites meet, particularly in their opening games, there is a big opportunity to take a huge stride towards winning the Group here.
Senegal Lead the African Charge
Senegal reached the quarter finals at the 2002 World Cup and have been one of the most highly rated African nations for some time now. Their win at AFCON 2021 was hard-fought but well deserved and they also showed their grit and determination in topping their World Cup qualifying Group unbeaten before overcoming a first-leg deficit to edge out Egypt in their playoff.
There are some good African teams at this tournament, but there is a feeling that Senegal are leading the African charge and that this is their moment. They squad is not outrageously gifted, but it is settled and possesses in Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly, two elite talents, along with plenty of players familiar with top level European football. Above all, in Aliou Cisse, they have an experienced, successful manager (boasting a 70% win rate) who has led the team since 2015.
Netherlands Counting on Defence
The Netherlands have been in the doldrums for some time but since turning to Louis van Gaal, now in his third stint as national manager, things have been picking up. The veteran coach took over after the end of the Frank de Boer era, which had included a 4-2 qualifying loss to Turkey and an early Euro 2021 exit.
This is a well organized team that plays a solid 3-4-3 system, and van Gaal will be counting on their strong defense to carry them through a relatively tough Group. With five centre-halves of top quality, led by Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, they look defensively secure and have a strong platform.
In terms of creativity, there are fewer options. Frenkie de Jong is a world class midfielder, while Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo are the main attacking options. Outside of those three, however, there is limited depth so they will need to have a little luck with injuries to go deep in this tournament.
World Cup Group A Match Betting
The most eagerly awaited match in World Cup Group A promises to be a must-watch, but we may not be in for a feast of attacking football from either side.
The Netherlands will be extremely wary of allowing Sadio Mane any space to run into and Senegal’s own defense is extremely effective at keeping opponents quiet. The Senegal midfield trio of Nampalys Mendy, Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gueye is an extremely experienced group and a formidable line up who will compete for everything, but their skills are more focused on shutting down play rather than expansive creativity, and that could lead to a scrappy midfield battle.
Although as I mentioned above, this game presents an opportunity for either team to stamp their dominance on Group A, their styles of play will naturally tend to produce few opportunities and if you throw in a little opening game caution and uncertainty, the result could be a stalemate that will be full of tactical intrigue, but low on goalmouth action.