Senegal vs. Netherlands: The Dutch are stacked while Senegal is missing its star.
Not even a minute into this Group A match at Al Thumama Stadium, and we already had a Dutch miscue and a corner kick for Senegal. Then a lapse from Senegal. And another in the back from the Dutch.
All sorts of fun so far.
The starting goalkeeper for the Dutch is Andries Noppert, and at 6-foot-8 and dressed in a neon green kit he looks kinda sorta like the biggest highlighter in Qatar. Also, he’s making his national team debut today!
In front of him, the Netherlands features perhaps the best center back in the world, Virgil van Dijk, and the creative playmaker Frenkie de Jong, who is a menace distributing in the midfield. Playing without striker Memphis Depay (hamstring), the Dutch would looooooooove if Cody Gakpo can continue his ascent starting today.
Speaking of injured stars … the absence of Sadio Mane, the Bayern Munich dynamo, hurts Senegal, and it hurts Senegal badly. Still, Senegal boasts one of the best goalies in the tournament in Edouard Mendy, and Kalidou Koulibaly is an elite defender. Krepin Diatta will replace Mane in an attack headed by Ismaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia.