Colombia will be bidding to create more upsets when they take on footballing giants the United States as former winners Norway play England in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup on Monday.
Colombia achieved one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament when they shocked third-ranked France 2-0 in their group match and now have a mammoth task of two-time winners the United States ahead of them.
Colombia coach Fabian Taborda said that his 28th-ranked side feared no one, even the second-ranked Americans, as they play outside the group stages for the first time.
They lost 2-1 to England and were held 1-1 by Mexico in their other Group F games from which they advanced as one of the best third-placed finishers.
“We faced France, a power, and then England, a power and then if we have to face the United States we will be ready to play them,” said Taborda ahead of the tie where the winner will take on 1999 runners-up China who beat Cameroon 1-0 in Edmonton on Saturday.
“In this World Cup nothing is easy, everything is difficult.”
The Cafeteras, lead by Yoreli RincA?n and Lady Andrade, have nothing to lose knowing that they have already surpassed expectations.
The South Americans will however be without goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda, who drew her second yellow card on Wednesday.
It will be a match between unequals as in Colombia there are no professional leagues and the majority of players have day jobs while the Americans are all full-time players.
Colombia lost 3-0 to the Americans, winners in 1991 and 1999, at the last World Cup in Germany.
US star Abby Wambach, with 14 World Cup goals, could match the record 15 of Brazil star Marta during the game in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.
“We’re battle tested and feeling confident coming out of that Group,” warned US coach Jill Ellis of their tough Group D from which they emerged as leaders with two wins and a draw against Sweden.
‘Fit and physical’ .
In Monday’s second game in Ottawa, Mark Sampson’s England take on 1995 winners Norway.
England came back from their opening-day defeat by France by beating Mexico and Colombia.
The Norwegians, ranked 11th in the world, finished second in Group B and held Germany, two-time champions, to a 1-1 draw last week.
“We are going to face a really good Norwegian side. They have drawn with the best team in the tournament in Germany,” said Sampson.
“Physically they will be a very difficult challenge for us. They have got a variety of styles. They defend in a deep block, they can be aggressive and they have got some good individual qualities.
“But this England team is playing well at the moment and we feel that we’ve got a lot of weapons we can use to hurt Norway.”
The World Cup has a last-16 round for the first time as the tournament has been expanded to 24 teams.
England have never gone beyond the quarter-final in their three previous appearances, in 1995, 2007 and 2011, so have never won a knockout match at the tournament.
England’s most capped player Fara Williams is expecting a tough test from Euro 2013 runners-up Norway.
“They are tough,” said told TheFA.com.
“They are a physical team. I know from previous experiences playing against them, they are very direct, fit and physical.”
The winner will next meet either hosts Canada or Switzerland for a place in the semi-finals.