from HUSSEIN HUSSAIN in Doha, Qatar
DOHA – WITH The Netherlands a safe bet to progress to the knockout stages, Senegal must beat Ecuador on Tuesday if they are to remain in the World Cup Qatar 2022.
Third-placed Senegal will battle the South Americans in their last Group A match at the Khalifa International while the Dutch are favoured to beat the hosts, already knocked out, in the other encounter at Al Bayt.
It will take an upset of the century for the woeful, pointless Qatar to get anything from the game against the Clockwork Orange.
West Africans Senegal, the reigning champions of the African continent, are third with three points while Ecuador and Netherlands are joint top on four points.
A draw might not be enough for the Teranga Lions as they have a goal difference of zero, while the co-leaders are on two.
Tuesday’s encounter will mark the second meeting between Ecuador and Senegal.
History favours the Senegalese as they won a friendly encounter 1-0 ahead of the 2002 World Cup as both teams were preparing for their debut at the global tournament.
Aliou Cisse, Senegal manager, will pin his hopes on Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng for the goals.
Gustavo Alfaro’s La Tricolor is sweating over the fitness of talisman Enner Valencia. Ecuador’s all-time top scorer is struggling with a knee issue.
Group B also comes to a conclusion on Tuesday, with one match featuring political rivals and another pitting some allies.
Third-placed United States (two points) and Iran (three points), in second, will lock horns at the Al Thumama.
They are political foes.
Their meeting at France’98 was called the “Mother of all Games” and described as the most politically charged game in World Cup history.
Iran won 2-1 and the power of the beautiful game to unite was on display as Iranian players gifted white roses to their opponents as a symbol of peace.
The other Group B match features United Kingdom allies England (top with four points) and Wales (bottom with one point) at the Ahmed bin Ali.
That friendship will be put aside with a berth in the next round at stake.
– CAJ News