Senegal back in action, England on brink of qualification

Japanese fans helped to clean up their section of the stadium at the World Cup

For England fans, the pain of being knocked out by Iceland in the 2016 Euros and a winless first-round exit at the 2014 World Cup, was finally slipping away.

The livewire Mane said he had attempted to meet up with central defender Yoshida before their Group H clash in Yekaterinburg - but to no avail.

Panama, though, proved against a powerful Belgian side that they won't be walkovers as they held Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard at bay in the first half, before conceding three goals in the second.

It was this same golden goal rule that finally ended the dream run of the 2002 Senegal squad. Kawashima punched a shot he should have caught and the ball ricocheted off Mane's knee and in to give Senegal a deserved lead.

He needed to be more involved in general play, however, and it remains to be seen if the side can accommodate both him and Rodriguez at this World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo (Rennes), Alfred Gomis (SPAL), Khadim Ndiaye (Horoya). "Koulibaly needs to show his qualities, and Sane the same".

Midfielders: Idrissa Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United), Alfred N'diaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Badou Ndiaye (Stoke City), Cheikh N'doye (Birmingham City), Ismaila Sarr (Rennes).

The pressure is now on, not just for Rodriguez, but in the knowledge that Jose Nestor Pekerman's six-and-a-half-year stint - only three other coaches at the World Cup have been in place longer - in charge would have a huge stain should Colombia lose against a Poland side ranked eighth by Federation Internationale de Football Association and also needing a result.

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The 6ft-tall lad, whose playing style has drawn a comparison to Italian forward Mario Balotelli, recently switched allegiance to Senegal and played his first ever match on October 2017.

Senegal picked up the most bookings. Without Sanchez partnering with Abel Aguilar in defence, Los Cafeteros face an uphill task of having to beat Poland who, after having been beaten convincingly by Senegal, will be desperate to notch a win of their own.

"We've seen already the difficulty the big countries in terms of ranking have had in breaking down lower-ranked teams", cautioned Southgate. The 27-year old averaged 2.3 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 3.3 clearances per 90 minutes from his 35-league appearance for Napoli this season.

"Quintero was absent from the national team for a while and then he joined again a while ago".

Yoshida said he expected Japan's opponents to pay much closer attention to Osako in the wake of the former Kashima Antlers forward's starring role in Saransk.

"I am sure we can deal with him but with the contribution that Mane can make, it might be possible to mark him one on one or even three on one".

Riding on confidence after victories in their respective opening fixtures, Japan and Senegal will lock horns in their second Group H encounter of the FIFA World Cup 2018 at the Ekaterinburg Arena here on Sunday.

Steen: Colombia went a man down against Japan, and although they lost they impressed more than Poland did in their opening game.

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