The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is less than a month away and, by this point, excitement has gone into overdrive. France enter the tournament as reigning champions after a sterling performance from a young Kylian Mbappe secured victory over Croatia in the Moscow showpiece four years ago. Oddschecker, which compares odds and provides offers on the World Cup, has made Les Bleus one of the favourites for the tournament again this year, along with Brazil.
But it isn’t either of those two teams that have got us excited.
Our excitement comes from the continent of Africa, and specifically, the reigning African champions – Senegal. The Lions of Teranga head to Qatar in the best form of their lives. They secured their maiden Africa Cup of Nations trophy earlier in the year, with superstar striker Sadio Mane getting one over on his then-Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah, whose Egypt side were defeated on penalties in the final.
We feel there is plenty of value to be had on Senegal this winter. Here are two outside tips that we feel the Senegalese might be able to land.
To top Group A – 9/2
Yes, we know that Senegal have been drawn alongside European heavyweights the Netherlands, but we feel that Aliou Cisse’s side have more than enough about them to spring the shock. They open their campaign against the Dutch and, if they can leave the Al Thumama Stadium with at least a point, the group should be there for the taking. Hosts Qatar and Ecuador are the other two teams in Group A, and Mane and co. should be aiming for at least six points.
To reach the Quarter Finals – 4/1
In our eyes, the validity of this bet will depend entirely on the result of the first prediction above. If Senegal manage to top Group A, they will face either the USA, Wales, or perhaps Iran in the second round, all of which are winnable fixtures. If they finish as runners-up in Group A – which is what the majority of the bookies expect – they will face England – a tougher prospect.
Last summer, many fans would have been quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing the Three Lions. But after a disastrous UEFA Nations League campaign which saw Gareth Southgate’s side humbled home and away by lowly Hungary, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility for Senegal to stun England in the round of 16. Admittedly, topping the group and securing a favorable draw would be the desired path, but there’s no reason for Cisse’s men to fear the English either. You never know.