Friday’s FIFA World Cup draw offered Senegal a foreseeable path into the knockout stages of the tournament in Qatar (21 November – 18 December). Meanwhile, favourites Brazil were handed a potentially tricky group.
According to our odds, the Seleção are the most likely winners of this tournament. However, the world’s top-ranked team will have to be at their best from the get-go, as they will have to face Switzerland (ranked 14th) and Serbia (25th) in Group G, as well as a fired-up Cameroon (37th).
France (3rd in the world rankings) and England (5th) are our joint-second favourites to win the World Cup. Both of them have been placed into manageable groups.
England have been placed in Group B with Iran, the USA and Wales, Scotland or Ukraine. France have an even smoother road to the round of 16 on paper and will be up against Denmark, Tunisia and Peru, Australia or the UAE in Group D.
While Cameroon and Tunisia have unenviable draws, Senegal have a decent one in Group A with hosts Qatar, the Netherlands and Ecuador.
The African champions are the continent’s top-ranked side (20th) and are second-favourites to win their group at 5.50.
However, hosts Qatar certainly cannot be taken for granted and Ecuador are a solid footballing nation. It is vital that Senegal pick up six points against these teams to avoid a scenario similar to 2018 when they were eliminated due to finishing behind Japan via the fair play rule with identical points and goals for and against.
Nevertheless, Aliou Cissé’s men will fancy their chances of progressing. Unfortunately, it looks quite likely that they will be the only African team in the knockout rounds.
Ghana will have a rematch with Uruguay, who controversially knocked them out of the 2010 World Cup, and will also play Portugal and South Korea in Group H. Morocco, meanwhile, are in Group F with Belgium, Croatia and Canada.
Brazil look like the best to win the tournament, with Senegal likely to progress from their group in second place and fly the flag for Africa.