At long last, the Lions of Teranga ended their wait for a major international trophy by winning the African Cup of Nations earlier this year, grinding their way through to the final in impressive, if not particularly entertaining fashion.
As such, there’s a different feel about this team than in previous tournaments. While not exactly one of the favourites, Aliou Cisse’s team looked a lot better suited to make a deep run these days.
Still, an impressive-looking Netherlands side is emerging as dark horses in the eyes of many. Having stormed their way into the Nations League finals, a move away from the 4-3-3 system so intertwined with their footballing identity appears to have worked even despite the natural criticism. Simply put, the Oranje look in a much better place than in Euro 2020.
Louis van Gaal took his country to the semi-finals in 2014 and will leave his role in charge after the tournament after revealing he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. What a story it would be should the former Barcelona, Ajax, and Manchester United manager go one step further.
Senegal team news
Cisse pledged: “We will do all in our power to ensure we can recover Mane in time to play.” However, the efforts to treat the damage Mane sustained to his fibula on November 8 – including the use of a witch doctor – couldn’t get the job done and he has now been officially ruled out of the tournament.
Five days before kick-off, the Senegalese Football Federation board member Abdoulaye Sow confirmed that the Lions of Teranga “will have to cope without its best player”.
Abdou Diallo is also a doubt with a knee problem.
Netherlands team news
Memphis Depay is comfortably the top-scoring international in the Netherlands’ squad but has been struggling with a hamstring issue since appearing for the Oranje in September. Van Gaal confirmed the forward would not start their World Cup opener as he continues his recovery.
Denzel Dumfries was forced off with a knee injury while turning out for Inter against Atalanta just eight days ahead of the game against Senegal. Marten de Roon wasn’t part of the opposition that day as he is suffering from a muscular problem.
Match Result Prediction: Netherlands to Win
Senegal has not been consistent in the recent outings and they registered only two wins in the previous five outings. But the Netherlands had made three consecutive victories before this game. The Flying Dutchmen have also won four of the last five attempts away from home. Lions of Teranga have won four of the last five home games but no team has a home advantage in this meeting. Hence, the Netherlands is better on paper and will be our favourite to earn a victory in this duel.
Total Goals Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals
The Netherlands has found the back of the net at least twice in four of the last five attempts, adding a total of ten goals in that duration. On the other hand, Senegal has also managed an average of one goal per game recently, scoring in most of the duels. Clockwork Orange has also conceded goals in three of the previous four away outings. We expect a victory for the Netherlands but with a high-scoring total at the end.
Correct Score Prediction: 1-2 to the Netherlands
Though Senegal has managed to get on the score sheet in four of the last five attempts, they didn’t score more than once in four of them. But the Netherlands succeeded to earn an average of two goals per game in the last five outings. The Flying Dutchmen also scored at least twice in all of the previous four games away from home. As we expected this duel to cross the total of over 2.5 goals and the majority of the away outings of the Netherlands have also been high-scoring with BTTS patterns. So our next prediction for this game will be a 1-2 for the Netherlands.
Senegal vs Netherlands Final score prediction
Mane has either scored or created nine of Senegal’s last 14 goals in competitive matches. The Bayern Munich forward is a gargantuan loss to the frontline of a side that “must continue to work on our efficiency in front of goal”, according to their manager.
The absence of Memphis will be keenly felt by the Netherlands as well but Van Gaal arguably has more forward options to call upon than his opposite number. Only England and Germany scored more goals in European World Cup qualifying than the Dutch.
While their defensive resolve is far from faultless, Van Gaal’s Oranje should have enough to overcome a Senegal side shorn of their star man.
Prediction: Senegal 1-2 Netherlands