Senegal vs. Colombia World Cup Pick June 28
Thursday will bring us the final matches of both Groups G and H at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Through 2 games apiece, Group H has been all sorts of topsy-turvy. Poland, who entered as favorites with their No. 8 world ranking, have already been eliminated after enduring back-to-back defeats at the hands of Senegal and Colombia. Japan and Senegal are currently tied atop the group with 4 points, while Colombia are sitting on 3.
Poland can play spoiler on Thursday against Japan, but most eyes will be on the other tie between Colombia and Senegal. Senegal picked up a surprising win over Poland in the opener before drawing in a thriller with Japan last weekend. Colombia were beaten by Japan before coming back to stun Poland in dramatic fashion.
Colombia made a run to the quarterfinals 4 years ago in Brazil, and they entered this tournament with lofty expectations. The loss in the first game to Japan was a disappointment, but we saw the version of Colombia most expected against Poland. The Colombians were disciplined in defense, with star Polish striker Robert Lewandowski hardly factoring into the match at all.
It was instead Colombia mounting steady pressure on Wojciech Szczesny in the Poland goal. Colombia got off 13 shots against Poland, 3 of which found the back of the net. Colombia also dominated possession, racking up 514 passes to Poland’s 424.
Everything Colombia does with the ball begins and ends with James Rodriguez. The young attacker was the breakout star of the tournament 4 years ago in Brazil, and his play is what ultimately landed him an expensive move to the biggest club on the planet, Real Madrid. Rodriguez’ career hasn’t quite taken off from that point as many expected, but he has looked stellar once again since donning the familiar yellow Colombia shirt. He now has 6 goals and 4 assists in World Cup play all-time.
Rodriguez’ amazing assist on what became a breakaway goal from Juan Cuadrado has been arguably the so far. Goalkeeper David Ospina took some hits against Poland, but the backup Arsenal man is expected to be fit to start once again against a dangerous Senegal attack. Colombia will also get Carlos Sanchez back into the lineup after he missed the Poland game after picking up a straight red card in the third minute of the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Japan.
Colombia are the betting favorite here, but it won’t be easy. While Senegal will advance to the knockout stage with a draw, Colombia are likely to need to pick up all 3 points in this one if they are to stay alive in the tournament. Japan will be playing against a Poland side with nothing to play for but pride. However, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions already at this World Cup, sometimes those teams with nothing left to lose are the most dangerous of all.
Still, Colombia can’t afford to take any chances.
As for Senegal, the 2-2 draw last weekend against Japan was entertaining, but coach Aliou Cisse was less than impressed with his team’s overall showing. Even so, the manager says his team isn’t discouraged by the fact that they failed to secure all 3 points. The former Senegal captain, who helped the team reach the final 8 in 2002, said, “We have worked hard, we need only one point to be qualified, this is our goal, this generation deserves to go further in this competition. We need to improve the impact. We need to be more aggressive on the ball. At this level it goes very fast. We need to have more concentration. We need to be more rigorous.”
Colombia will be primarily focused with trying to limit star attacker Sadio Mane. Mane scored his first World Cup goal against Japan on a flukey bounce, but the Liverpool man has generally served as Senegal’s most threatening presence in front of goal. However, Torino striker M’Baye Niang has proven to be a handful for opposing defenders, as well. Niang scored against Poland before picking up an assist in the last game against Japan.
Mane’s goal was the 15th different match in which he has scored for his country. In those 15 games, Senegal are unbeaten with 9 wins and 6 draws.
Colombia may be the more talented side in general, but it’s hard not to be impressed with the way Senegal have played at this World Cup. While they would only need a draw in this match to advance, it’s clear that this side aren’t wired to play for a draw. They are aggressive in attack and have a stout back line that should give Colombia far more issues than Poland were able to.
Senegal here as an underdog at +310 on the moneyline is an insane value. They have been up to the task thus far, and I think that’s a number too good to ignore. I love Senegal as a ‘dog in this spot at +310 to win outright..
$100 stake could win...