11 min: After just 10 minutes, the players of both sides are both drenched with sweat. Senegal attack, but Krepin Diatta loses the ball on the back of a heavy touch before he can get a cross in from the right.
10 min: Denzel Dumfries picks up the ball on the right touchline and curls a cross into the Senegal penalty area. Edouard Mendy claims confidently at the far post.
9 min: Ismaila Sarr shoots on the turn from distance after receiving a pass through the middle with his back towards goal. His effort sails high over the bar.
7 min: Early errors at both end in an open game but no goals or chances of note just yet. Senegal attack down the right and a cross is hoisted towards the far post. Showing all the agility of a centre-half his size, Pape Abou Cisse is unable to connect with the dropping ball to steer it goalwards from a tight angle.
3 min: After that shaky start, the Netherlands advance and should have taken the lead. Steven Bergwijn is unable to get on the end of a low Cody Gakpo cross into the Senegal penalty area after Edouard Mendy had rushed off his line and been caught in no-man’s land.
1 min: The Netherlands pass the ball around the back and try to advance until Matthijs De Ligt gives the ball away. Ismaila Sarr pounces and pulls the ball back towards Boulaye Dia, whose shot is blocked by Frenkie De Jong. The ball goes out for a corner, from which nothing comes.
1 min: Following Ecuador’s win over Qatar last night, the second Group A match of the tournament gets under way with the Dutch getting the ball rolling. The players of the Netherlands wear orange shirts, shorts and socks. The African champions are in white shirts, white shorts and white socks.
Out they go: Both sets of players walk out on to the pitch and stand either side of referee Wilton Sampaio and his team of match officials for the national anthems.
Not long now: The teams are in the tunnel awaiting the end of an extravagant light and pyrotechnics show at a currently half-full (at best) Al-Thumama Stadium before marching out on to the pitch. Here’s hoping for a cracking, competitive game. It’s the third of the tournament and the two that have preceded it have both been ridiculously one-sided affairs.
Those teams: The Netherlands name uncapped goalkeeper Andries Noppert in their starting line-up, while Senegal have picked Krepin Diatta as their replacement for Sadio Mane. Senegal have nine players from their Africa Cup of Nations winning squad in their starting line-up.
After much speculation over the identity of the Dutch keeper coach Louis van Gaal chose Noppert, who at 6ft 8in is the tallest player at this World Cup, despite the fact he has yet to play an international. Denzel Dumfries starts at right-wing back for the Netherlands, despite his participation being in doubt in the build-up to the game.
Senegal (4-3-3): Edouard Mendy, Koulibaly, Cisse, Gueye, Papy Mendy, Kouyate, Dia, Diatta, Sarr, Sabaly, Diallo.
Netherlands (3-4-1-2): Noppert, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Ake, Bergwijn, Gakpo, Berghuis, Blind, Janssen, De Jong, Dumfries.
The Netherlands: “Louis van Gaal believes the Netherlands can win the World Cup because his squad has a “higher average quality” than the group he led to third at Brazil 2014,” writes Jamie Jackson from Doha.
Senegal without Sadio: The injury to the Bayern Munich forward is a blow, but the African champions have a pragmatic approach to tournament football under Aliou Cissé, writes Ed Aarons.
Today’s match officials
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
Assistant referees: Bruno Boschilia (Brazil) and Bruno Pires (Brazil)
Video Assistant Referee: Juan Soto (Venezuala)
As mentioned previously, Senegal are without Sadio Mane, who could be reaplced by Monaco winger Krepin Diatta. Abou Diallo, the RB Leipzig central defender, could miss out with a knee injury.
The Netherlands are also missing a key player, with Memphis Depay sidelined for this match at the very least with a hamstring injury. Denzel Dumfries could also miss out after suffering an injury while playing for Inter last weekend, while the participation of midfielder Marten De Roon is also in doubt.
Qatar’s 40,000-capacity Al-Thumama Stadium is the venue for today’s encounter between Senegal and the Netherlands. Slated to host eight different matches in this tournament, it hosted it’s first game thirteen months ago.
The African champions suffered a pre-tournament hammerblow with the news that their star player Sadio Mane had been ruled out for the duration after suffering an injury while playing for Bayern Munich that sent his international manager Aliou Cisse back to the drawing board.
The Netherlands come into this tournament having qualified as group winners under Louis van Gaal and have since won five out of six Nations League matches, drawing the other. Kick-off in this tantalising match pitting Africa’s best against one of Europe’s finest is at 4pm (GMT) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.