England vs Senegal: Where last-16 tie will be won and lost

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - England v United States - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - November 25, 2022 England's Jordan Pickford in action - REUTERS/Matthew Childs
Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - England v United States - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - November 25, 2022 England's Jordan Pickford in action - REUTERS/Matthew Childs

England's World Cup campaign reaches the do-or-die stages with the side's progression into the last 16 as group winners. They will face Senegal in the round of 16, and Telegraph Sport takes a look at where the crucial areas of play will be in the tie.

Central midfield

Senegal have been dealt a blow ahead of this game with Idrissa Gueye suspended after picking up a yellow card against Ecuador as he helped his country get out of the group stage. It was his second booking of the World Cup and Senegal will miss his energy in midfield, particularly as Cheikhou Kouyaté has been struggling with a hamstring problem.

There is more than 180 caps of experience between the pair and they will be sorely missed. England can seize control of the central area of the pitch as they did against Wales, using Jordan Henderson in his first start of the tournament. Henderson added experience and a calmness to Gareth Southgate’s team as they needed to be patient in the first half as the Welsh fell back to defend. The legs of Jude Bellingham and discipline of Declan Rice, who plays deeper than his box-to-box role at West Ham, will be the key to who can take control of the tie.

Goalkeepers... and penalties

Not so long ago, Edouard Mendy was a Champions League winner and holder of the Fifa Best Goalkeeper award. But in recent months, he is no longer an automatic starter at Chelsea so has headed into the World Cup with a point to prove. His group stages has been a mixed bag, one incredible acrobatic save to stop Qatar defender Ismaeel Mohammad but also errors.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group A - Qatar v Senegal - Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 25, 2022 Senegal's Edouard Mendy in action as he saves a shot from Qatar's Ismail Mohamad - REUTERS/Matthew Childs
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group A - Qatar v Senegal - Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 25, 2022 Senegal's Edouard Mendy in action as he saves a shot from Qatar's Ismail Mohamad - REUTERS/Matthew Childs

He would not be happy with Davy Klaasen’s late goal for Holland which was spooned in his direction. Cody Gakpo’s header earlier in that match could have been dealt with too. But Mendy seems to save his best for international football. He was the penalty hero against Mohamed Salah’s Egypt in the shootout wins in the African Cup of Nations final and the play-off to reach Qatar.  Contrast that to Chelsea, where he has twice been taken off just before penalties to get Kepa Arrizabalaga on the pitch for the shootout. Jordan Pickford has saved at least one penalty in his last three shootouts and his form in normal play in Qatar has been good.

Set pieces

Senegal have shown they are dangerous from free-kicks and corners, which England will need to be mindful of, particularly as John Stones conceded a penalty for holding in the match against Iran. Defending these situations could be one of the defining moments of the tie. Senegal will be disappointed at conceding from a corner against Ecuador, a traditional near-post routine flicked on for Brighton midfielder Moisés Caicedo to tap in from close-range. But the winner in that match came from Senegal causing chaos in the penalty area with a free-kick, leading to Kalidou Koulibaly finishing and sealing victory.

Kalidou Koulibaly (R) of Senegal celebrates with teammates after scoring the 2-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2022 group A soccer match between Ecuador and Senegal at Khalifa - Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Kalidou Koulibaly (R) of Senegal celebrates with teammates after scoring the 2-1 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2022 group A soccer match between Ecuador and Senegal at Khalifa - Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Earlier in the tournament, former Bristol City striker Famara Diédhiou scored with a thumping header from a corner against Qatar. England have returned to the “Love Train” routine where players line up on the edge of the area and scatter just before the the set-piece is delivered. They also have Marcus Rashford full of confidence taking a direct free-kick as he did against Wales when he opened the scoring.

Intensity

England seemed to increase their intensity after the half-time interval against Wales, which coincided with Chesney Hawkes performing I Am The One And Only during the break. They were noticeably more lively after the one-hit wonder’s performance and play resumed. It follows a pattern of some matches of the tournaments seeing slow first halves before a flurry of activity later in the game.

English pop singer Chesney Hawkes performs at half time during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and England at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 29, 2022. - JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
English pop singer Chesney Hawkes performs at half time during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and England at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 29, 2022. - JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Some coaches put this down to not having enough time to prepare their teams in the week before the mid-season competition started. As matches wear on, tiredness comes into play and holes appear in defences. England’s win over Wales was more about patience than Chesney Hawkes. They cannot play at Premier League pace for 90 minutes plus added-time. But when they put their foot on the accelerator, they need to be ruthless and take their chances in front of goal.

Full-backs

England’s opening goal of the tournament came from Luke Shaw setting up a chance with a cross after raiding down the left flank. It is an important area for Southgate. Against USA, Shaw needed more defensive help and was too far apart from Raheem Sterling.

Kyle Walker has recovered from groin surgery and returned to the starting line-up against Wales. He did what he is encouraged to do at Manchester City, wandering into central midfield to try to have an impact on that part of the pitch. He can also use his pace to get up the right flank and add to attacks. Kieran Trippier came on against Wales and started the tournament at right-back. His set-piece delivery is valuable to the team when on the pitch.