FIFA World Cup 2018
-Poland vs Senegal, Otkrytie Arena @06:00pm
-Russia vs Egypt, Krestovsky Stadium @09:00pm
African will still be chasing for its first point (s) at the on-going FIFA World cup tournament on Tuesday evening.
With Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco all losing their opening games, it will be up to Senegal to try and restore some pride for the African continent.
The Teranga Lions are the only African side yet to kick a ball and will have it first test in form of Poland.
Senegal have minor injury issues as they lost defender Saliou Ciss on the eve of the tournament to injury. Caen’s Adama Mbengue was the late call-up to replace him.
For Poland, defender Kamil Glik could be in contention as he bids to return from the shoulder injury which was expected to keep him out of the World Cup. The Monaco player looked set to be replaced after the injury in training but is now expected to return by the final group game – if not sooner.
Poland and Senegal each have a star forward on the back of a spectacular club season – Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane respectively.
What they are saying:
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.
“Sadio Mane is a unique player.
“He cannot be compared to any other Senegal player, even the major ones we’ve had in the past.
“And despite everything that has happened for him over the last two years, he hasn’t changed.
“He’s just as humble as he was when I first met him at the 2012 Olympics.
“Senegal isn’t only Sadio Mane, though, he has a good team built around him and I think it should be a little plus for him that we’re all behind him.
“He plays for one of the most iconic clubs, one of the best in Europe, and he’s top-notch for them.
“He’s absolutely unique because he is so unpredictable, that’s what makes him great – he can make the difference with a pass or shot. He’s already one of the best [players in the world].
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski.
“I played less games this season, which means I’m less tired.
“I hope this freshness will show.
“This time the preparations have been personalised, catered to what an individual player needs.
“I am not sure how many good opportunities I will have. But when I am doubled up on and fouled, it frees up space for my team-mates and we’d like to take advantage of this.
“I want my hunger for goals to be even bigger and bigger. And of course I hope more goals will come on the biggest stage – the World Cup.
This will be the first ever encounter between Poland and Senegal.
Poland are unbeaten in their three games against African opposition at the World Cup (W1 D2). These three games have produced only one goal.
This is Poland’s eighth World Cup, but their first appearance since 2006. They last reached the knockout stages in 1986, failing to advance from the group stages in each of their last two appearances (2002 and 2006).
Poland have lost six of their last eight World Cup games (W2). They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in those last eight games, their last shutout dating back to their 1-0 win against Portugal in 1986.
Senegal have qualified for their second World Cup, after their inaugural participation in 2002 where they reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated by Turkey.
Senegal were unbeaten in their only previous group phase appearance at the World Cup (W1 D2), which included a victory in the opening game against defending champions France (1-0).
The other game involving an African nation pits Egypt against host’s Russia at the Krastovsky stadium.
Egypt forward Mohamed Salah will need to pass a fitness test to feature in the game having sat-out the entire 90 minutes of the 1-0 loss to Uruguay in their opener.
“He is fit and i hope he will be fit to play, said Egypt coach Hector Cuper.
“In the previous match we thought he was fit but we have a final fitness test.
Right-back Ahmed Fathi, who captained the side in the last game, has shaken off a minor muscle problem.
Defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed was substituted during Friday’s defeat with a back issue, but the Egyptian FA have confirmed he will be fit to face Russia.
For the hosts, they will be without attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev after he pulled his hamstring in the opening game.
Left-back Yuri Zhirkov trained individually on Sunday because of a minor ankle problem but is likely to be passed fit.
This will be the first meeting between Russia and Egypt.
Russia’s 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia was the biggest victory by a host nation in an opening game since Italy beat the USA 7-1 in 1934.
The win means that Russia have already scored more goals in this tournament than they did at each of their last two World Cup appearances – they netted twice in 2014, and four times in 2002.
As Russia, they have failed to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup in three attempts (1994, 2002 and 2014).
Egypt are still waiting for their first win at a World Cup finals (D2, L3). No African side has played as many World Cup games without a win.
The Pharaohs have failed to score in each of their last three World Cup matches. Their last goal was a penalty scored by Magdy Adbelghani in a 1-1 with the Netherlands in 1990. Their only World Cup clean sheet came in a 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in June 1990.