Ecuador vs Senegal
It all comes down to this for Ecuador and Senegal as they face each other in a decisive 2022 World Cup Group A match-up at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Ecuador refused to rest on their laurels after becoming the first team to beat a host nation in an opening World Cup game, courtesy of a 2-0 beating of Qatar, coming from behind to hold the Netherlands to a 1-1 draw last time out. With one point separating them from third-placed Senegal, avoiding defeat here would catapult ‘La Tri’ into the World Cup knockouts for the second time in only their fourth tournament appearance. Defensively spot on, Gustavo Alfaro’s men have conceded from the only shot on target in Qatar, suggesting their impressive run of seven clean sheets in eight matches is no fluke. That formidable defensive resolve is a necessity if the Ecuadorians are to defy their two-game losing H2H record against Senegal.
In the meantime, Senegal bounced back from a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands by thumping host nation Qatar 3-1 in round two, throwing their hopes of making it out of the World Cup group stages for only a second time a lifeline. But with the Dutch likely to put Qatar to the sword in the other Group A fixture, the ‘Lions of Teranga‘ cannot settle for less than three points if they’re to achieve that feat. Having won none of their two previous World Cup games against South American nations (D1, L1), Senegal will be out to defy history. After beating Qatar, Aliou Cisse’s men could record back-to-back victories at the World Cup finals for only the second time in the nation’s history, last doing so in 2002 when they reached the quarter-finals.