Arguably the tightest group at the World Cup will most likely come down to the final round of matches, and the game between Senegal and Colombia will go a long way in determining which nations emerge from Group H. With Japan and Poland kicking off at the same time, anything is possible during these crucial last 90 minutes.
The Colombians will enter this match as the favourite, which is unsurprising considering that they outrank their opponents and also have a perfect record against African nations at the World Cup. They boast a number of high profile stars, most notably Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez and Monaco star Radamel Falcao, and Colombia were our initial pick to top this group.
Yet Senegal are a good side and will certainly prove to be a tough opponent for Colombia. Star winger Sadio Mane will lead the side in attack, and we rate them highly – they were our initial pick to finish Group H in second place.
Context will of course be a factor here, as it is in all third group stage matches. Colombia certainly possess the talent to pick up two wins in their first two fixtures, and if that is indeed the case they may rest players coming into this one. This would significantly enhance Senegal’s chances of victory.
Senegal are less likely to win against both Japan and Poland although it’s certainly not out of the question, especially as we believe they will be too strong for the Japanese. They should come into this match needing at least a point to secure their qualification.
Senegal are great value as outsiders in this match. The +284 on offer is indicative of a team that are certainly a chance of victory, and this is backed up by the fact that Colombia start at evens, paying -101. The draw is perhaps the most tempting option, priced at +237. We think there is a huge chance this match will end level, and if both teams come into the match only needing a point expect this figure to drop significantly.
The only question is how many goals we should expect. Colombia scored plenty in the last World Cup, although were quiet in qualifying, barely scoring more than a goal per match. Both teams seem to score the majority of their goals in the second half, so perhaps we will see 0-0 stalemate at half-time before the match ends with a goal from both sides.
1-1 is our predicted score.
When: Thursday, Jun 28 (10am ET)
Where: Samara Arena, Samara
TV: FS1, Telemundo*