Senegal drawing 1-1 with Japan at halftime

Senegal drawing 1-1 with Japan at halftime

Senegal drawing 1-1 with Japan at halftime

Panama, one of the weakest teams in the field from the ultra-weak CONCACAF region is just happy to have qualified.

Cisse and his men are now dreaming of a repeat of their run to the quarter-finals in 2002 - he captained that team. Kawashima punched a shot he should have caught and the ball ricocheted off Mane's knee and in to give Senegal a deserved lead.

Poland had the advantage statistically, owning 59% possession to Senegal's 41%, with 10 shots (4 on target) to Senegal's 8 (2 on target). 22 of the 23 members of the squad ply their trade in Europe with goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye being the only player playing outside of Europe in this squad.

Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Alanyaspor), Adama Mbengue (SM Caen), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Kara Mbodii (RSC Anderlecht), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux), Salif Sane (Hannover), Moussa Wague (Eupen).

With Japan beginning to take a firm hold on the game, it seemed only one side would break the deadlock and Inui came close to scoring a fabulous second goal when his effort from distance crashed off the bar.

Sunday's match will be the first competitive meeting between the two countries.

Japanese players all expect a tough game against their next opponents Senegal following the opening win.

Prediction - Poland just peaked too early in this World Cup cycle.

The likes of Sadio Mane can be seen dancing, singing and waving their hands as they take part in what has been dubbed "the happiest" warm-up routine you'll ever see.

For an England team that came to the World Cup with reduced expectations, things are setting up nicely.

For Cisse it was a tremendous triumph but more than that, it was just as significant for the symbolic message sent out by the 42-year-old's success: As the youngest coach and the only black coach among the 32 at Russian Federation 2018, Cisse confirmed the quality, acumen and all-round game suss of a new generation of emerging black coaches. The Lions of Teranga will be banking upon their leading defender to continue his fine form with the national team and help marshal their defensive line effectively.

"The key point is not to let him play brilliantly, it is one of the most important tasks for our team".

Senegal picked up the most bookings.

"When we get possession we need to make faster decisions".

Two teams who won against the odds in the opening round of games to blow Group H wide open and leave the more-fancied duo of Poland and Colombia with plenty to do to extend their stay in Russian Federation beyond the group stage.

FIFA World Cup 2018 England vs Panama, Japan vs Senegal and Poland vs Colombia football matches will kick off at 1730 hrs IST, 2030 hrs IST and 2330 hrs on Thursday.

Panama shouldn't be underestimated but if we're being completely honest, this is a game England really should be looking to win, and perhaps they might even manage to score more than two goals in a 90 minute World Cup match for the first time since 1986.

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