It will be a clash of continents at the Ekaterinburg Arena on Sunday the 25th as Asian heroes Japan play African giants Senegal for a slot at the knock out stages. Neither team has ever won two consecutive opening matches in the World cup so this could be a perfect opportunity to make history.
Japan and Senegal come to this match with high confidence following 2-1 wins over Colombia and Poland respectively. Both teams are competitive and entertaining to watch. Japan bring that well-coordinated game and patience on goal kind of game while Senegal provides the all-attacking counter-attack style. Senegal are by far physically stronger than Japan but skill wise the Asians have an upper hand.
A Carlos Sanchez red card aided the Blue Samurai as they upset group favorites Colombia in their opening match. All in all they showed a very impressive game and deserved the win regardless of the sendoff. The layer to watch from this team is undeniably the experienced Shinji Kagawa. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was impressive against Colombia and will be looking to replicate the same when they meet Senegal. It was his goal bound effort that caused Sanchez’ dismissal and he converted from the spot shortly after.
Senegal was too good for the Poles in their opening match. African teams have been criticized for being disorganized but this Senegal side does not fall in that category. They were organized, compact and disciplined in their match against Poland. This Senegalese squad comes to this match as the favorites and they will be depending on their experienced players to carry them to the knock out stages. The men to watch will be Everton’s Idrissa Gueye and Liverpool talisman Sadio Mane.
Off the pitch, their supporters are unique and have been really impressive in Russia. It might be an off day for the volunteers in the Arena as the fans might end up doing the job for them.