Doha (Qatar), Dec 3 (IANS) The second day of matches in the last-16 sees England play Senegal while France play Poland. Here are some things to look out for on Sunday in Qatar.
1. France back and firing on all cylinders
France rested almost their entire first-choice side for their last group match after having already secured their place in the knockout stage, with their big players such as Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann only coming on in the closing minutes as they chased the game against Tunisia.
Coach Didier Deschamps will have his strongest line-up out against Poland on Sunday, with Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud in attack, Griezmann in the hole behind them and Adrien Rabiot in the middle. They should be fresh and they should have few problems in reaching the quarterfinals.
2. Poland need a change of attitude
It’s not usual to see a side celebrate a defeat, but that is what the Polish side did in the wake of their 2-0 loss to Argentina on Wednesday night which saw them into the last 16.
Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz showed an incredible lack of ambition against Argentina, even instructing his players not to commit fouls in the closing stages of the game, to avoid yellow cards when it looked as if qualification could go down to fair play between them and Mexico.
Yellow cards won’t be a factor against the French, but if the Poles set out to defend, leaving Robert Lewandowski isolated in attack, there is only one way this tie is going to end. And it won’t end well for Poland.
3. Which England will we see against Senegal?
We have seen two England teams in this World Cup: one which tore holes in the Iranian attack to win 6-2 and that produced a destructive 45 minutes to score three times against the Welsh, and another that struggled to break down an energetic and organized USA and failed to score in the first half against the Welsh.
England coach Gareth Southgate has to decide whether he keeps Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford in his side against Senegal, who are likely to present a physical challenge.
If England can find spaces and move the ball quickly between the lines, they are likely to win, but if not, this game could be decided by set pieces or even penalties.
4. Multiple goal-scorers offer Senegal hope
Although they were rocked by the loss of Sadio Mane before the World Cup, Senegal have adapted well to reach the last 16, with five different players hitting the target so far in Qatar.
Ismaila Sarr has been arguably their most effective player, with more touches in rival penalty areas and the final third of the pitch than any of his teammates.
Sarr plays in the England Championship with Watford and a good performance against England could earn him a move to the Premier League before very long.