The game: 2-0
After two one-sided matches to launch this World Cup, the opposition between Senegal and the Netherlands was to offer the first balanced confrontation of the competition. The Teranga Lions and the Dutch were there to deliver an intense duel which should leave its mark. Thanks to late goals from Cody Gakpo (84th) and Davy Klaassen (90 + 9), Louis Van Gaal’s protégés managed to snatch a precious success in their quest for the top of Group A.
They can still consider themselves lucky this Monday evening. Shaken by the physical intensity and pressing of the Senegalese, the Netherlands had a hard time showing themselves dangerous in the last 30 meters. Blame it on a lack of sharpness illustrated by the hesitation of Frenkie De Jong, yet put into orbit by Steven Berghuis on the counter-attack (19th). Quite the opposite of a Senegal which showed a lot of serenity and character. In particular, it took the vigilance of Virgil Van Dijk to take out a very dangerous shot from Ismaïla Sarr (25th).
The reigning African champions did not ease off after the break and pushed Andries Noppert to two decisive saves (65th and 73rd). But they unfortunately paid dearly for their excess of energy at the end of the game. Weighed down by two new injuries (see below), Senegal gave in on a goal from Cody Gakpo, whose header beat the exit of Edouard Mendy (85th). Then Davy Klaassen finished killing the suspense in the last seconds (90+9). Cruel.
The player: De Jong, a caviar and chills
Boss of the Batavian midfield, Frenkie De Jong impressed as much as he made his team shiver on his World Cup debut. Beyond his delicious cross which allowed Gakpo to unlock the game, the Barça player was essential in the orientation of the game and his ability to carry the ball. But he was also guilty of several dangerous loss of balls, as on this full axis recovery in the surface in the first period. A waste which can be explained by an immense excess of energy but which could have been very expensive with his.
The fact: Senegal leaves feathers
Already deprived of its leader Sadio Mané, the selection led by Aliou Cissé suffered two new blows on Monday for its entry into the running. Visibly hit in the thigh, Abdou Diallo had to give way to Ismaïl Jakobs after the hour mark. A few minutes later, it was Cheikhou Kouyaté who went out on a stretcher after another muscle injury. His World Cup seems already over.