Fancy a bit of Senegal nostalgia? How’s about one of the best games of Japan/South Korea 2002?
Your lunchtime reading:
Goal! Wales 0-2 Iran. It gets worse for Robert Page’s side but Iran have deserved this – they’ve been excellent. And there’s full-time.
Back to this one, and those lineups: the Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb makes way for Meshaal Barsham, unsurprisingly after his jittery display against Ecuador. For Senegal Ismail Jakobs comes into the defence for the injured Cheikhou Kouyaté and Pape Abou Cisse is replaced by Famara Diedhiou.
Goal! Wales 0-1 Iran – Iran have won it at the last.
Qatar: Barsham, Pedro Miguel, Mohammad, Khoukhi, Abdelkarim Hassan, Ahmed, Al-Haydos, Boudiaf, Madibo, Ali, Afif
Senegal: Edouard Mendy, Sabaly, Koulibaly, Jakobs, Diallo, Idrissa Gueye, Nampalys Mendy, Diatta, Diedhiou, Ismaila Sarr, Dia.
Or has he? A VAR check does for him and he has to go for clattering Taremi when the forward was clean through. Wales are down to 10 men.
And in Group B, a tense old encounter is entering its closing stages. With Wayne Hennessey somehow escaping with only a yellow card just now …
Some essential pre-match reading:
Hello everyone, and welcome to our second World Cup game of the day. It pits the respective Asian and African champions against each other, each of whom lost their opening matches 0-2. At which point, you might argue, the similarities end. While Senegal looked sprightly and competitive against the Netherlands, particularly early on, and were undone mainly by a lack of cutting edge up front, Qatar turned in a rabbits-trapped-in-headlights non-performance against Ecuador, and were lucky their opponents declared at half-time. All that Aspire academy cash, all those gifted places in other tournaments, including this one as hosts, all that unsavoury geopolitical positioning – and for that?
“Emotionally, things were very difficult, and dealing with the World Cup is completely different. I hope that the performance will be as competitive against Senegal,” admitted their manager, Felix Sánchez, yesterday, adding: “We prepared ourselves for the possibility of an early exit, but this does not mean the end of the project. I am confident that Qatar will continue their project to maintain a strong team, compete and qualify for the upcoming tournaments.” Ah yes, Projects. Always with the Projects.
Anyway, Qatar almost certainly won’t play as poorly again, and they have shown some pedigree in recent times. Senegal, you fancy, have more though but they sorely missed Sadio Mané against the Dutch. They will also be sweating on the full match-fitness of Cheikhou Kouyaté and Abdou Diallo, important cogs in the team who were forced off in Monday’s match with niggles. In as much as we can generalise, there does seem to be an early pattern of African teams struggling to score despite plenty of quality and attacking intent. Will that pattern shift here?
Kick off 1pm GMT.