Colombia vs England preview, betting tips and prediction
Draw 1-1 @ 5/1 with Betfair
Colombia qualified for the knockout stages at a World Cup for the second time in succession despite losing their opener. Their campaign couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. Carlos Sanchez was given his marching orders in the first five minutes of their clash with Japan, giving them a mountain to climb. They didn’t do much climbing that day but scaled the mountain over the course of the following two matches with their 3-0 win over Poland being particular stylish. That was Colombia at their best, playing with flair and attacking abandon. England will need to be careful of getting caught on the break and getting hit by Yerry Mina at set-pieces.
England are also a threat from set-pieces with Harry Kane topping the scoring charts at the World Cup thanks, in large part, due to his prowess from dead-ball scenarios. Gareth Southgate rested players for the final group game against Belgium, losing 1-0. It meant that they finished second in the group and were set up to face Colombia instead of Japan. Whether he’ll regret changing his line-up remains to be seen but if Kane or any other key player was injured against Belgium then he’d be taking flack for that too. He can’t win. But England can here.
Needing a result to secure passage to the next round, Colombia were underwhelming for most of the early stages of their final group game against Senegal. Yerry Mina, scorer of the opener in their win over Poland, provided the breakthrough thanks to comical defending at the near post. Mina is a threat and Colombia have the makings of a good centre-back pairing with him and Davinson Sanchez at the back. Radamel Falcao has looked lively and scored a tidy goal against Poland but the team’s real star is James Rodriguez and much will depend on his fitness.
It’s hard to properly assess how good England are because of the mediocre level of opposition they faced with a full-strength line-up; Tunisia and Panama were expected to get out of the group. However, they will be encouraged by the sharpness of Harry Kane, the cohesion of his supporting cast with Jesse Lingard sticking out, and the workrate of Kieran Trippier on the right. They seem to have a well-balanced side in terms of egos with Gareth Southgate having the trust of a young group of players and giving it back in return.
James Rodriguez limped off early against Senegal but should be fit for this game.
England are expected to have a full squad of players to choose from.