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Poland vs Senegal
2018 FIFA World Cup
Senegal have opened their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Poland, in a game decided by key defensive lapses for the Poles.
An own goal to Thiago Cionek, and a sloppy backwards pass by Grzegorz Krychowiak, gave the Lions of Teranga their goals.
While Krychowiak redeemed himself late with a header from a set piece, the Poles ran out of time to equalise.
Group H continues at the FIFA World Cup with Poland facing Senegal at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 1am (AEST).
The second game of the last group at the World Cup, meaning after this clash we’ll have seen every team at least once.
More importantly for the competing nations, this game marks the end of something of a long spell out of international football’s biggest tournament.
Poland missed qualification for the 2010 and 2014 events, and Senegal haven’t been seequarterfinal remarkable quarter final run on their debut appearance in 2002.
Neither side would feel they’re being allowed to ease back in, starting with what might be the pivotal game in what is regarded as one of the most even groups at this tournament.
The Poles qualified in some style for the World Cup, winning every home game to top their group.
Star striker Robert Lewandowski dominated with 16 goals, including a hat trick in the White and Reds critical 3-2 victory over Denmark.
Senegal’s Lions of Teranga had a controversial qualification process, after an early loss to South Africa was overturned due to match fixing from the referee – a clearly incorrect penalty was awarded to the South Africans.
It was in the replayed match – almost a full year after the original fixture – that Senegal secured top spot in their group and passage to Russia with a 2-0 win.
Earlier this year the Lions had three draws against modest opposition in warm up friendlies, but they did win their most recent match against South Korea and by all accounts held their own in a 2-1 loss to Croatia.
They bring an impressive squad, headlined by Liverpool winger Sadio Mane, who of course scored against Real Madrid in his last competitive outing, no less a stage than the Champions League final.
The defence is anchored by Napoli’s giant centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly, winger Niang has been in good form for Torino, and midfielder and captain Kouyate has been a fixture for West Ham in recent seasons.
It is a talented and physically imposing team. However, it is a bit difficult to know if they can be more than the sum of their parts.
For Poland, all eyes will be on Lewandowski, one of the world’s most prolific strikers for both club and country over the past few years.
They do have plenty of top level experience across their team, albeit little World Cup experience. Glik, Piszczek, Błaszczykowski and Szczesny in goal have been in Europe’s top leagues for a while now.
The key though might be the relatively young Piotr Zielinski, by far the Poles’ most creative midfielder, and a teammate of Senegal’s Koulibaly at Napoli.
The Senegalese are an intriguing team, and on paper look like a difficult opponent. I’m very interested to see if manager Aliou Cisse can get the most out of them in Russia.
But the Poles have recent big tournament experience with their quarter finals run at Euro 2016, and most importantly they have Lewandowski. I think they can weather the Senegal storm and give the Bayern man enough supply to win what shapes as an exciting contest.