Peeking! A fairly exciting first half between two decent parties ends scoreless. The Netherlands looked more threatening, but with Ismaila Sarr, Senegal had the most dangerous player on the field. He gives Matthijs De Ligt a very torrid time and his teammates need to get him on the ball more.
44 minutes: It’s been a decent game so far, but neither keeper has been tested. Two years ago, if you’re interested, Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert was without a club, unemployed and seriously considering giving up football to join the Dutch police. His counterpart, Edouard Mendy, also had a well-documented spell in the football desert and was unemployed and on benefits as recently as 2016.
42 minutes: Senegal wins a free kick in line with the front of the Netherlands penalty area. Idrissa Gueye’s cross attempt is unfortunate and fails to clear the first defender.
41 minutes: Ismaila Sarr shoots the ball through the Dutch penalty area with a quarter turn and it is cleared by Nathan Ake.
40 minutes: On the edge of the Senegalese penalty area, Steven Berghuis runs through on a shot by Vincent Janssen and shoots the ball high over the crossbar.
38 minutes: Ismaila Sarr races to catch a long Ciss ball from deep near the touchline under pressure from Matthijs De Ligt. He looks dangerous in the rare moments when he is on the ball.
36 minutes: Dutch corner after a coming shot from De Jong goes from distance from Pape Abou Cisse’s head. Nothing comes of it.
34 minutes: Bergwijn plays the ball next to Blind, whose cross from the left ends up in the Senegalese penalty area for Dumfries. He is unable to get a shot away.
31 minutes: The Netherlands wins a free kick in another promising position for a foul by Cisse on Janssen. It is almost in line with the right edge of the Senegalese penalty area. Cody Bakpo hoists the ball towards the far post, where it is cleared.
30 minutes: Virgil van Dijk and Frenkie De Jong get crossed, with the latter failing to catch a pass from the other after turning his back on him. Idrissa Gueye jumps in but rushes wide.
28 minutes: Idrissa Gueye and Cheik Kouyate combine down the right flank for Senegal, but can’t find their way through the Dutch rearguard.
26 minutes: An attempted Dumfries cross goes out for a corner on Abdou Diallo, the Senegalese left back. VIrgil van Dijk heads the outswinger well wide and then berates himself in the strongest possible terms as he returns to his position.
25 minutes: With just over a quarter of the game, there is little to choose between the two teams. The Netherlands lead the way, but have to sweat even more after Ismaila Sarr cuts in from the left with a dropped shoulder and curls a shot into goal. Virgil van Dijk heads the ball away.
23 minutes: The stadium appears to have filled up quite a bit since kick-off, in a situation that suggests fans here may have experienced the same ticketing app issues that England and Iran fans faced before their match earlier in the day.
21 minutes: Free kick from the Netherlands, a few meters outside Senegal’s penalty area, at the level of the right edge. Berghuis’ curled throw is not great and Senegal runs comfortably clear.
19 minutes: A brilliant ball in from Bergwijn picks out Steven Berghuis. He arranges it for Frenkie De Jong, who somehow manages not to get a shot, despite seeming to have all the time in the world. He twists and turns, allowing Senegal’s defense to regroup and push him off the ball.
16 minutes: Daley Blind jumps higher than Youssef Sabaly at the far post to make contact with a cross from Cody Gakpo. His downward header bounces off the wrong side of the upright.
14 minutes: Gakpo and Dumfries combine on the inside right, but the latter’s pull basck goes straight to a Senegal defender.
11 minutes: Already after 10 minutes the players of both sides are soaked with sweat. Senegal attack but Krepin Diatta loses the ball on the back of a heavy touch before he can get a cross from the right.
10 minutes: Denzel Dumfries takes the ball on the right flank and curls a cross into the Senegalese penalty area. Edouard Mendy claims confidently at the far post.
9 minutes: Ismaila Sarr shoots the turn from range after a pass through the middle with his back to goal. His effort flies high over the bar.
7 minutes: Early errors on both ends in an open game, but no goals or significant chances yet. Senegal attacks from the right and a cross is hoisted towards the far post. Pape Abou Cisse displays all the agility of a central defender of his size and is unable to make contact with the falling ball to send it towards goal from a tight angle.
3 minutes: After that shaky start, the Netherlands moved up and should have taken the lead. Steven Bergwijn is unable to enter the Senegalese penalty area on the end of a low Cody Gakpo cross after Edouard Mendy stormed off his line and was caught in no man’s land.
1 minute: The Netherlands passes the ball from behind and tries to move up until Matthijs De Ligt gives the ball away. Ismaila Sarr jumps in and pulls the ball back towards Boulaye Dia, whose shot is blocked by Frenkie De Jong. The ball goes out for a corner, from which nothing comes.
Senegal v Netherlands is go…
1 minute: After Ecuador’s victory over Qatar last night, the second Group A match of the tournament gets underway, with the Dutch team getting the ball rolling. The players of the Netherlands wear orange shirts, shorts and socks. The African champions are in white shirts, white shorts and white socks.
They go out: Both sets of players walk onto the field and line up on either side of referee Wilton Sampaio and his squad of match officials for the national anthem.
Not for long: The teams wait in the tunnel for the end of an extravagant light and firework display at a currently half-full (at best) Al-Thumama stadium before marching onto the pitch. Here we hope for a great, competitive game. It’s the third of the tournament and the two leading up to it were both ridiculously one-sided affairs.
Those teams: The Netherlands has included goalkeeper Andries Noppert in the starting line-up without limit, while Senegal has chosen Krepin Diatta to replace Sadio Mané. Senegal has nine players from their Africa Cup of Nations winning squad in the starting line-up.
After much speculation about the identity of the Dutch goalkeeper coach, Louis van Gaal opted for Noppert, who is the tallest player at this World Cup at 1.80 meters, despite the fact that he has yet to play against an international. Denzel Dumfries starts as right back for the Netherlands, despite doubts about his participation in the run-up to the game.
Netherlands (3-4-1-2): Noppert, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Ake, Bergwijn, Gakpo, Berghuis, Blind, Janssen, De Jong, Dumfries.
The Netherlands: “Louis van Gaal believes the Netherlands can win the World Cup because his selection has an “average higher quality” than the group he led to third place in Brazil in 2014,” writes Jamie Jackson from Doha.
Senegal without Sadio: The Bayern Munich attacker’s injury is a blow, but the African champion has a pragmatic view of tournament football under Aliou Cissé, writes Ed Aarons.
Today’s match officials
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
Assistant referees: Bruno Boschilia (Brazil) and Bruno Pires (Brazil)
Video Assistant Referee: Juan Soto (Venezuela)
Early team news
As mentioned earlier, Senegal are without Sadio Mane, who could be replaced by Monaco winger Krepin Diatta. Abou Diallo, the central defender of RB Leipzig, was sidelined with a knee injury.
The Netherlands is also missing a key player, Memphis Depay is in any case sidelined for this match with a hamstring injury. Denzel Dumfries can also miss after an injury he sustained at Inter last weekend, while the participation of midfielder Marten De Roon is also doubtful.
Group A: Senegal against the Netherlands
Qatar’s Al-Thumama stadium with a capacity of 40,000 is today the venue for the meeting between Senegal and the Netherlands. Scheduled to host eight different matches in this tournament, it hosted its first match thirteen months ago.
The African champions received a hammer blow ahead of the tournament with news that their star player Sadio Mane had been ruled out for the duration following an injury he sustained while playing for Bayern Munich, sending his international manager Aliou Cisse back to the drawing board.
The Netherlands entered this tournament after qualifying as group winners under Louis van Gaal and have since won five of their six Nations League matches, drawing the other. This exciting match between Africa’s best and one of Europe’s best kicks off at 4pm (GMT), but keep an eye out for team news and the build-up in the meantime.