World Cup 2022 continues on Monday as we find out the first four qualifiers for the knockout phase of the competition.
The USA face Iran in a game they simply must win to reach the next round, while England and the Netherlands also return to the field.
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The odds for November 29 have been sourced from the FanDuel sportsbook, which is giving out a $1000 no-sweat first bet right now.
With the Netherlands widely expected to beat Qatar in Group A’s other concluding contest, this has become a winner-takes-all encounter. Senegal simply must pick up all three points to qualify for the round of 16, while a draw would be enough to send Ecuador through for only the second time in the history of their national team.
We fancy Gustavo Alfaro’s side to get the job done one way or another. Ecuador have an identical record to the Netherlands so far, but their performances have been much more impressive. The South Americans outplayed Louis van Gaal’s charges in their meeting on Friday.
Senegal lack an attacking spark without Sadio Mane, their injured talisman. With Ecuador extremely effective on the counter-attack, they should be able to at least avoid defeat on matchday three.
The Netherlands have offered very little in attack so far, despite scoring three goals. After their early opener against Senegal on matchday one, the Dutch only managed one more shot on goal until the final whistle. They have, in truth, been fairly underwhelming up to now.
That may be due to the absence from the start of matches of Memphis Depay, who was only fit enough to appear as a second-half substitute in the 1-1 draw with the African champions. But even if he only gets another 45 minutes against Qatar, the Barcelona forward will cause problems for a backline that has looked very shaky.
This should be a pretty handsome win for the Dutch, despite their struggles so far. Depay as an anytime goalscorer would be an astute choice from a betting perspective.
The good news for the USA is that they are still in contention for a place in the knockout phase of the World Cup. The bad news is that the only way to obtain it is by beating Iran, who know that a draw would be sufficient for them to advance provided England avoid defeat by Wales.
Group B could deliver a dramatic afternoon of soccer on Tuesday. Iran will pose a stiff test for the USA, who have produced some good approach play at this tournament without creating too many clear-cut chances. That is a worry given how well-organized Iran are without the ball.
This is unlikely to be a high-scoring encounter. The high stakes mean it is more likely to be tight and tense, so do not expect to be treated to numerous goals at the Al Thumama Stadium.
England are within touching distance of a place in the last 16. Despite the disappointment of a flat display in the 0-0 draw with the USA on Friday, the Three Lions will almost certainly take part in the knockout rounds: even a 3-0 defeat by Wales would send them through.
Needless to say, Gareth Southgate will nevertheless be keen to restore some momentum and confidence in the camp by guiding his team to victory here. Against a Wales side that was blunt against the USA, both teams not to score could be a good choice.
With Gareth Bale subdued so far, Wales have offered very little in attack. The one goal they have scored came from the penalty spot, and England at least looked reasonably solid defensively against the USA.
Dates: November 20 - December 18
How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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