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World Cup Previews: Ecuador vs Senegal | Group A battle in store for Gueye

So many scenarios exist as to who will move onto the next round and who will be going home

Senegal’s midfielder #05 Idrissa Gana Gueye, Senegal’s forward #07 Nicolas Jackson, Senegal’s midfielder #11 Pathe Ciss and Senegal’s defender #12 Fode Ballo-Toure attend a training session
Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

While Group A had the first team to exit the 2022 World Cup in hosts Qatar, the rest of the group has been very competitive and leaves a lot to be determined as the final matches are played. While Netherlands are very much mere inches away from qualifying for the next round, and will likely do so when they face the host nation; as for Senegal and Ecuador, that match will not only be dripping in drama and possibilities, but will be a hard-fought affair between two tough nations.

Idrissa Gana Gueye has bossed proceedings for the Lions of Teranga, taking a higher position than he often plays in for Everton, and has demonstrated wonderful organization and leadership skills on this biggest of all global stages. Whether he and his teammates will be able to outlast Ecuador remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that - whenever it should be - his arrival back upon Merseyside may also come with a few added club responsibilities.

Netherlands and Ecuador both sit atop the group with four points and draws for both sides will suffice to ensure progress. Separating the two sides might yet come down to goal difference, and failing that, fair play records.

If Senegal beats Ecuador though, the Dutch must draw or win, and a loss to Qatar by more than Senegal beat Ecuador would mean a Dutch exit. The most likely scenario as per this writer, however, is that the Dutch handle Qatar, leaving them as winners of Group A, while either Senegal or Ecuador make it through in second place. Ecuador’s goalscoring record so far led by former Toffees forward Enner Valencia has greatly enhanced their chances of qualification, but Senegal should not be written off with their backs to the wall.

Both teams have a balance, wherein they can play offensively and defensively as suits the mood and circumstance; with this noted, I would anticipate that, since Senegal will have more urgency to score and win sitting in third place, that Ecuador will try to sit back and absorb as much of that as possible. Should they fail, they will have to be able to kick their offense into high gear though, as Senegal and Gana can park the bus once an objective has been met. Oh, what a match it is shaping up to be indeed!