Preview Ecuador vs Senegal: World Cup Group A, Round 3, 2022
The Ecuador squad train in Doha, Qatar, on 28th November 2022: Raul Arboleda/AFP via Getty Images

This match takes place at the same time as the other remaining Group A fixture, where the Netherlands face already-eliminated hosts Qatar, and both the South Americans and the African champions know that progression is in their own hands.

The group table currently shows the Netherlands and Ecuador on four points, Senegal on three and Qatar on zero.

Despite having an identical points, goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head record, the Netherlands top the group ahead of Ecuador due to their better disciplinary record.

That context means that this fixture is, in effect, winner takes all.

Ecuador, though, know that a draw will also be enough to secure progression for them.

Defeat will definitely knock Senegal out, and would probably do likewise for their opponents.

Ecuador would still progress if the Netherlands suffered a loss to Qatar by a greater margin, though – or by an identical margin while scoring fewer goals.

The Dutch will be much-fancied to beat hosts Qatar, however, so the likelihood is that Gustavo Alfaro’s side will need to avoid defeat to get through and win to give them any chance of topping the group.

In some ways, the task for Aliou Cissé’s team is simpler. To ensure they qualify, they have to win.

A draw will only be enough for Senegal if the Netherlands suffer an unlikely loss – and it would need to be by at least two clear goals.

There are no shortage of permutations, but that should hopefully help contribute to an entertaining contest between two sides who can be an excellent watch at their best.

  • TEAM NEWS

Ecuador

The chief point of focus in the build-up, for many, has been the fitness of skipper Enner Valencia.

Scorer of his nation’s three goals at the tournament so far – and their last six World Cup finals goals across this year’s competition and the 2014 edition – he was stretchered off late on in the 1-1 draw with the Netherlands.

The noises are positive about him being able to start this one, though, and that will likely be a great source of relief – and optimism – for those of an Ecuador persuasion.

Elsewhere, midfielder Jhegson Méndez is suspended after he picked up a booking in each of the opening two matches.

The 3-4-3 used against the Dutch appeared to work effectively, but it will be interesting to see whether Alfaro changes the approach against a side likely to play a back-four.

Senegal

Defender Pape Abou Cissé and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyaté are likely to remain out after they picked up injuries in the opening loss to the Netherlands, but there don’t appear to be too many fitness concerns aside from those two.

Cissé went for a 4-4-2, with an additional attacker, against Qatar. Whether he does likewise against Ecuador could say a lot about his team’s potential approach.

  • Likely lineups

Ecuador (3-4-2-1):

1. Hernán Galíndez; 25. Jackson Porozo, 2. Félix Torres, 3. Piero Hincapié; 17. Ángelo Preciado, 8. Carlos Gruezo, 23. Moisés Caicedo, 7. Pervis Estupiñán; 19. Gonzalo Plata, 13. Enner Valencia (C); 11. Michael Estrada

Senegal (4-2-3-1): 

16. Édouard Mendy; 21. Youssouf Sabaly, 3. Kalidou Koulibaly (C), 22. Abdou Diallo, 14. Ismail Jakobs; 26. Pape Gueye, 6. Nampalys Mendy; 18. Ismaïla Sarr, 5. Idrissa Gana Gueye, 15. Krépin Diatta; 9. Boulaye Dia

  • KEY PLAYERS

Ecuador – Enner Valencia

Embed from Getty Images

If the South Americans are to make it into the last 16 for the second time in their history – and particularly if they do so with a win – it’s difficult to envisage Valencia not playing a big part.

An inspirational, experienced figure, he is a goal threat from range or in the box and is likely to be ready to exploit any gaps that may be left as a result of Senegal’s need to go for the win.

Senegal – Idrissa Gana Gueye

Embed from Getty ImagesWhether he plays in a deep-lying or advanced midfield role, the Everton man will need to put in a big display against a combative, technically sound Ecuador midfield.

If he can help to give Senegal a good level of control from the centre of the park, he may just be the one who provides a path to victory – and progression.

  • MATCH DETAILS

WHERE IS THE GAME BEING PLAYED?

Khalifa International Stadium, Ar-Rayyan

WHAT TIME IS KICK-OFF?

Kick-off is at 3pm GMT (UK) on Tuesday 29th November.

HOW CAN I WATCH?

In the UK, the game is due to be broadcast live on ITV4 and ITVX.

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