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FIFA World Cup Preview – Last 16, Sunday

The last 16 of the FIFA World Cup continues on Sunday with defending champions France taking on Poland and England against Senegal. Check out our preview to Sunday’s last 16 action and if playing online casino is your entertainment of choice then head over to Genting Casino where you will find over 3000 online slots and premium live casino tables.


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France v Poland 

Les Bleus managed to escape the winning curse and have advanced out of the group stages, with Italy (2010), Spain (2014) and Germany (2018) all falling at that point having won the previous edition. Kylian Mbappe has been the standout player for France and already has three goals to his name, as he is the favourite to win the golden boot by a considerable margin and is priced at half of what Leo Messi is as the second favourite. 

Poland were lucky to get through Group C and if Mexico had scored another in their 2-1 win against Saudi Arabia, they would have gone through on the second tiebreaker which is goals scored. If Mexico didn’t concede in the final minutes of the match, we were two Poland yellow cards away from making history as both teams would have been tied on every possible tiebreaker, which means it would have gone to a coin flip. 

Les Bleus have had a rollercoaster of a time in the World Cup since 1990. After coming fourth in 1982 and third in 1986, they failed to even qualify for the next two editions of the tournament. Then after failing to qualify for two World Cups in a row, they went on to win the next one as the host nation in 1998 with a record of W6-D1. Four years later they failed to get out of the group stage as the defending champions without even scoring a goal.  

Through 90 minutes, they have won three and drawn one of their four games in the Round of 16. Their draw ended up in their favour as they scored in extra time to beat Paraguay 1-0 back in 1998, whilst Poland haven’t managed to reach this stage since 1986.  

We’ve seen a record number of 0-0 draws at half time at this World Cup and we think this trend will carry on here, but France will eventually take the cake and send themselves through to the quarters. 

HT/FT – DRAW/FRANCE 

 

England v Senegal 

Senegal might not be quite the same fearsome proposition in the absence of talisman Sadio Mane, but they do actually boast reasonable strength in depth in the attacking wide areas. They have other potential scorers, as can be seen by the fact that all five of their goals in Qatar have come from different players. 

Senegal are not only without Mane however, as Idrissa Gueye will be denied the opportunity to earn his 100th cap as he serves a suspension, having picked up bookings against Netherlands and Ecuador. Fellow midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate also misses out after being carried off on a stretcher in their opening game with the Netherlands, so the Lions of Teranga can consider themselves a bit unfortunate. 

A major concern for the reigning African champions has to be the lack of clean sheets they’ve picked up recently, collecting just four from their past 12 matches as these came against Guinea (twice), Bolivia and Liberia. Their past four outings have seen Iran, Netherlands, Qatar and Ecuador all breach their backline, so as long as England avoid the kind of insipid display they put on against the USA, they should have no problems finding the breakthrough. 

Gareth Southgate’s side are yet to be really tested in Qatar, but a pair of comfortable wins over Iran and Wales has left them with nine group stage goals to celebrate, while after Iran’s consolation efforts, there are back-to-back clean sheets to point towards. 

Regardless of whether Southgate sticks with the back four or not, England shouldn’t offer up too many chances. In 17 matches at major tournaments under the former Middlesbrough boss, England have only twice conceded more than one goal. Aside from Iran’s consolation efforts, the other was a 2-0 defeat in the third-place play-off with Belgium in 2018. They’ve kept seven clean sheets from 10 games since the start of the Euros, including against the likes of Croatia and Germany, so a Senegal side missing Mane should find opportunities hard to come by. 

Although England are understandably favourites for this tie, there’s little evidence to suggest it will be a walk in the park. Of those 17 major tournament games under Southgate, they’ve only won by more than a single goal on six occasions and mostly against inferior opposition (Panama, Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, Iran and Wales). Only two of Senegal’s 13 defeats since 2018 have seen them go down by more than a single strike, but ultimately the Three Lions should have enough quality and options from the bench to get over the line. 

ENGLAND TO WIN BY 1 GOAL 

 

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