Colombia clinched their first win of the 2018 FIFA World Cup following a 3-0 rout of Poland, which helps them inch closer to qualifying for the knockout rounds.

In what turned out to be one of the most one-sided contests in this edition of the FIFA World Cup, Colombia registered a convincing 3-0 win over Poland on Sunday. The win will hand Los Cafeteros a massive boost ahead of their all-important final group game against Senegal.

Poland, on the other hand, were completely outclassed by their opponents as they continue their poor form in the competition. The European outfit are now knocked out of the competition, but will play for their pride as they head to Volgograd Arena for their final group against Japan on Thursday.

Radamel Falcao scored his first goal in this year’s World Cup while the likes Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina were also on target as Colombia inflicted more damage into the desolate Polish hearts. The Hard Tackle now picks out three players who shined the most in this rather one-sided encounter.

James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez prevails after returning to full fitness. (Photo courtesy - Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

James Rodriguez prevails after returning to full fitness. (Photo courtesy – Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

There were doubts regarding his fitness going into the clash, but James has once again shown exactly why he’s deemed as Colombia’s main man, with a stunning performance against Poland.

The Bayern Munich man was involved in almost every attacking play from his side, often being a threat with his neat movements, unmatched vision and creativity in the final third. Aside from registering two important assists, which includes a delightful through ball to Juan Cuadrado for the third goal, James was also instrumental in the middle third of the pitch, providing more passes than anyone else.

Additionally, James Rodriguez also completed as many as six dribbles, which is more than the combined total of Poland’s wingers Dawid Kownacki and Piotr Zielinski. But most importantly, the 26-year-old was dispossessed only once, which showcases his ability to not just create chances, but also to operate as a reliable creative midfielder.

James Rodriguez’s return to form and fitness will be a huge boost for Jose Pekerman’s side as they aim to finish their group campaign on a positive note this week.

Juan Quintero

Juan to watch. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Juan Quintero was an integral part of Colombia’s attack against Poland. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Initially deemed as one of the most important players going into this fixture, Juan Quintero duly delivered to his hype with a sensational display against the Poles.

Even though he was subbed off later in the second half, his energetic performance in the first half had already done most of the damage for the Polish defence, who failed to contain him throughout the first 45 minutes. Though not exactly a central figure in Colombia’s scoring productivity, Quintero was the architect behind his side’s dominance over their opposition.

The player’s delightful through ball in the 70th minute opened up the entire defence, leaving Radamel Falcao completely free to score his first goal of the campaign.

The former Stade Rennais attacker made the most out of a hapless Polish defence, often providing a host of through balls which were quite effective for the Colombians. Quintero also showed tremendous understanding with James Rodriguez, which could prove out to be valuable as we progress further into the tournament.

Juan Cuadrado

The Juventus attacker was hard to contain on Sunday. (Photo courtesy - Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Juventus attacker was hard to contain on Sunday. (Photo courtesy – Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arguably the best player of the evening, Juan Cuadrado’s incredible performance played an integral part in Colombia’s sheer dominance of Poland.

The Juventus attacker made a host of dangerous runs from the right flank, which not only unsettled the opposition defence but kept them busy, ultimately allowing the likes of James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero much more freedom in central positions. And his sheer pace coupled with his tenacity proved to much for Maciej Rybus, who struggled to contain him throughout the game.

Aside from scoring the third goal to seal Colombia’s first win of the tournament, Cuadrado completed six dribbles and took three shots. Additionally, he lost possession of the ball only twice which is definitely impressive for a winger, especially at this level of football, therefore, making him one of the most valuable player in this highly captivating match-up between two of the dark horses of the competition.

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