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TRANSFORMATION OF GROUP A | Senegal have a chance to save Africa’s face with last 16 qualification – SABC News

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With the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage set to begin on Tuesday, African champions Senegal will be feeling the pressure when they go into their final group stage match against Ecuador at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar on Wednesday night. The Lions of Teranga were noticeably missing African Footballer of the Year Sadio Mane as they lost 2-0 to the Netherlands in their 2022 FIFA World Cup opener last week. However, they made amends a few days later when they faced hosts Qatar in the second leg of the group stage last Friday. That’s when Boulaye Dia, Famara Diediu and Bamba Dieng got their names on the scoresheet to give Senegal a 3-1 victory.

But how they will perform against the Ecuadorians will be telling. A win would surely secure a place in the round of 16 for the Senegalese, who would become the first African nation to advance beyond the group stage in a tournament that has so far been difficult for African nations. That would certainly see Senegal finish runners-up in Group A behind the Netherlands, who at the same time take on Qatar at the Al-Bayt Stadium. The Dutch should have an easy time picking up three points against the beleaguered hosts, who have already become the worst hosts in history.

However, a draw will not be enough for Senegal as they would be four points behind Ecuador who would have five points and defeat is not an option for Senegal.

The Netherlands will be looking for maximum points when they face Qatar to top Group A to avoid meeting England, who are expected to top Group B, in the round of 16. A win for the Dutch would leave them with a better chance of winning against Iran or the USA and an outside chance of facing Wales should England lose to Wales against the odds and finish second in Group B.

A win for Senegal would likely set them up for a round of 16 clash against what is likely to be England.

Worst case scenario…

The most unlikely outcome of Group A, which would probably be the biggest shock of the tournament, would be Qatar registering their first win over the Netherlands and Senegal picking up maximum points against Ecuador. In that unlikely scenario, depending on goal difference and goals scored, the Netherlands might have to pack their bags and fly home to Europe, losing their place to runners-up Ecuador. But it is very unlikely…

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