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After coming through the World Cup so far in Group B with seven points and a goal difference of +7, England now begin the knockout rounds with a game against Senegal, who finished second in Group A behind the Netherlands.
The Three Lions are -500 favorites to advance and -190 to win in 90 minutes. Does that price flatter England too much?
Here’s a preview of the World Cup Round of 16 game between England and Senegal starting at 2 pm ET on Fox Sports 1.
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England vs. Senegal
At first glance, England’s results in the group stage look fantastic. The Three Lions outscored their opponents, 9-2, and posted an expected goal differential of +2.9 in three games against Iran, USA and Wales. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll notice that all that damage was done against Iran and Wales, two teams that prefer to sit deep and defend in low blocks because they are weak in midfield.
England defeated Iran, 6-2, and dominated Wales, 3-0, but against the Americans, the Three Lions struggled to a 0-0 draw. It could be clearly argued that the USMNT were the better team in that matchup, even if the expected goals, which finished 0.8 to 0.6 in favor of England, suggested it was a coin toss.
The key to the success of the Americans was in the midfield, where they could compete with the English center of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham. Senegal will be without dynamic central midfielder Idrisse Gana Gueye, but the Lions of Teranga should offer much more competition in midfield than Iran and Canada. Nampalys Mendy, Pathé Ciss and Papa Gueye are not on the same level as Rice and Bellingham, but they should be able to put up more of a fight than England saw in their two wins.
Declan Rice of England Getty Images
Also, there are some concerns about how England will play this game from a stylistic point of view. While the Three Lions were off the handbrake against Iran and Wales, they were more tepid against the USMNT. That’s nothing new for this team, as Gareth Southgate prefers to play things closer to the vest against more dangerous opposition, especially when the stakes are high.
Southgate’s main criticism during his tenure is that despite having more talent than almost every team in the world, his conservative approach allows other teams to stay against England and punish them if they get a rest or the Three Lions aren’t on the same page. all good. in the races.
Even without Gueye and Sadio Mane, this Senegalese team is athletic, fast and talented. They are on a whole different level compared to Iran and Wales, and should cause England some of the same problems they did in a 0-0 result against the USMNT.
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England can certainly go out and impose their will against a less talented Senegal side, but there are some signs that point to a fairly close tilt on Sunday. And when you consider that Wales, who are a much worse team than Senegal, closed around this price in their game against England, you can make a decent case that the Teranga Lions are undervalued based on place here. Nobody expects England to be knocked out in the round of 16 by Senegal and that is affecting the price of this game.
It’s a bet you lose more often than you win, but Senegal pays off on the three-way money line on Sunday.
England team against Senegal
Senegal Three Way Money Line +650 (FanDuel)