Poland vs Senegal Preview: Lewandowski meets Mane as two teams finally get underway

Poland vs Senegal Preview: Lewandowski meets Mane as two teams finally get underway

Poland take on Senegal in the Otkrytie Arena at 4pm on Tuesday.

matthew-wojciow
Matthew Wojciow

Poland take on Senegal in the second of the opening games in Group H, becoming the final two teams to get their World Cup campaigns underway.

Poland come to the World Cup on the back of good run of results in their warm-up matches, with two wins over Lithuania and South Korea, a draw with Arturo Vidal's Chile and a loss to the Super Eagles in their first warm-up game. 

Senegal on the other hand have had a poor run of results in their warm up games winning only once, which was their last game against South Korea. They lost against Croatia and drew the other three against: Uzbekistan; Luxembourg and Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

Will Lewandowski fire his team to the knockout stage?

Robert Lewandowski is coming into the tournament with yet another Bundesliga Golden Boot, scoring 29 times as Bayern Munich swept another league title. Lewandowski was also the top scorer in European Qualifying scoring 16 times, beating Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lewandowski needs to show his quality on the world stage after a disappointing Euro 2016, where he only scored one goal, which was in the Quarter-final penalty defeat to Ronaldo & co. . 

Poland won't solely rely on the Bayern striker for goals, as they find goals from all over the pitch.

As seen in France, Arkadiusz Milik can fill Lewandowski's boots when called upon, but Milik's recent flurry of injuries may mean it will take him awhile to find his shooting boots. Hull City's Kamil Grosicki, may also provide a goal or two off the flank. There is also the option of veteran midfielder and former captain Jakub Blaszczykowski, who was amongst the goals in France, to do the job again in Russia.

Poland also have a solid backline with Monaco's Kamil Glik declared fit after a shoulder problem. There is also Lukasz Piszczek in full-back and one of Southampton's bright sparks this season Jan Bednarek, who has played in the recent friendlies. 

The centre of the park is not bad either with double Europa League winner Gregorsz Krychowiak, looking to put a poor season at West Bromwich Albion behind, whilst being a mentor to young Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski. 

The group is getting up in age, so is this, this generations final chance to make their mark in Polish history. 

Sadio Mane to put Kiev woes behind him

Sadio Mane will need to put the nightmare of Kiev behind him as he will be his country's main source of goals in Russia. The Liverpool man will need to utilise his electric pace and get at the ageing and slow Polish defence if Senegal are to have a chance of walking away with three points. 

There is also the veteran striker Moussa Sow who will give Mane some help in the goals department. Senegal do have quality throughout their side and some familiar faces in the ranks as well. They boast Idrissa Gueye and Cheikou Kouyate in the middle of the park and Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf

Senegal have arguably Serie A's best centre back in Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly, who has had an amazing couple of seasons coming into this tournament. He will need to be at his best to contain such a fruitful Polish attacking force. 

The wildcard player who could become the next big star is Monaco's Keita Balde Diao. Diao has the ability to play out wide and up front which could prove to be vital in the group. He, like Mane has searing pace and great finishing as well.

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