Sunday’s round of 16 knock out clash between Senegal and England will witness club teammates such as England’s Chelsea based forward Raheem Sterling taking on Senegal’s starting goalkeeper Édouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly, who also play for the English Premier League side.
Football experts say both sides have thus far displayed an exemplary performance at the global tournament and applaud the Lions of Teranga for making it to the round of 16 despite lacking their star midfielder, Sadio Mane.
England’s Three Lions advanced to next stage of the global tournament with seven points having experienced no defeat and produced the biggest score line of the tournament thus far, after thrashing Iran 6-2 in their opening Group B fixture.
Gareth Southgate, the head coach for the Three Lions expressed belief that his team are favorites to win in Sunday’s round of 16 clash against the West Africans.
“We know that on the rankings we will be favorites and we have got to deal with that,” said Southgate, adding, “we must remember that we will be playing against a very dangerous team.”
Analysts say Southgate has a number of choices of who to start in Sunday’s clash, especially after the exemplary performance that was put up by midfielder Phil Foden, who received his first start at the global tournament against Wales, while star players Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka were on the bench.
Kalvin Phillips, Foden’s teammate at both club and international level says the 22-year-old midfielder is talented and can play a crucial role in their upcoming fixture.
“Phil is an amazing talent,” said Phillips, adding, “he popped up with a crucial goal against Wales and I am very happy for him because he’s worked hard.”
Senegal’s captain Koulibaly said the Lions of Teranga are confident that they will put up a memorable performance against the English side.
“We’re not listening to what’s being said because we believe in ourselves and don’t intend to just go through the motions here,” said Koulibaly.
“Two thirds of the world thought we were done after Sadio got injured but the other third, us and Africa had faith,” added Koulibaly.