England will be looking to book their place in the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia when they face Colombia on Tuesday.

Colombia had a poor start to their campaign. With James Rodriguez not fit enough to start, Colombia tasted defeat in their opener – a 2-1 loss to Japan, which will be heavily credited to Colombia going down to 10 men early on.

Still, the South American side came back strong, with wins in their last two games to secure top spot in Group H.

England had a nervy start to the World Cup, with Tunisia giving them a run for their money. But, Harry Kane led the Three Lions to a narrow win over the African nation. Panama were demolished by a clinical England side before Gareth Southgate decided to rest the majority of the starters for the match against Belgium.

Belgium won the battle and earned bragging rights in Group G. England finished runners-up and were subsequently matched against Colombia.

As the two teams get ready to battle each other for a spot in the quarter-finals, we run the rule over the two squads.

Team News & Tactics

Colombia

Abel Aguilar is confirmed to be on the absentee list. But, the one name that Jose Pekerman had hoped to be fit is struggling to recover in time. James Rodriguez was forced off in the 1-0 win over Senegal and could feature on the bench against England.

In case James is not fit enough to start, we should see Luis Muriel earn a start in attack.

Another talking point would be Carlos Sanchez. The midfielder has not exactly had a good showing so far at the World Cup, which might force Jose Pekerman’s hand. The match against England will be tricky and the manager will not want any mistakes to prove costly.

Wilmar Barrios thus, could be Mateus Uribe’s new partner at the base of the 4-2-3-1 for Colombia. The rest of the lineup is likely to pick itself.

The focus will be on Colombia’s inexperienced and youthful back four and how they will be able to handle the big occasion. David Ospina will play a grander role in calming the defensive line and ensuring they keep their shape and cool on the pitch.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Arias, Mina, Davinson Sanchez, Mojica; Barrios, Uribe; Cuadrado, Quintero, Muriel; Falcao

England

Gareth Southgate will be hoping John Stones is fit enough in time to start the match. With the players now rested, Southgate is likely to name his key players in the playing eleven. One player who could lose his spot in the starting lineup though, is Dele Alli.

There have been calls for Alli being dropped in favour of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has given a good account of himself thus far in Russia. Should that be the case, Loftus-Cheek will slot in the midfield alongside Jordan Henderson.

Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard will be assigned roles to roam, disrupt and create space and distraction for Harry Kane to exploit upfront.

Kieran Trippier has been hailed for his displays thus far and his crossing ability should come to great use for England against Colombia.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Loftus-Cheek, Henderson, Young; Sterling, Lingard; Kane

Key Stats

1. England are unbeaten in their 5 international meetings against Colombia thus far (W3D2).

2. Colombia have scored in each of their last 8 World Cup games. The last time they failed to find the net was in a 2-0 loss to England in the 1998 edition.

3. If Harry Kane manages to put his name on the scoresheet, he will become the first player to score in six consecutive games for England after Tommy Lawton achieved the same in 1939.

4. England have failed to score in just one of their last 18 knockout games at the World Cup thus far.

5. Colombia have never played a goalless draw at the World Cup thus far. The South American nation has played 21 matches in the World Cup and have never managed to finish the match with a 0-0 scoreline.

Player to Watch

Davinson Sanchez

Carry on Davinson! (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Carry on Davinson! (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Davinson Sanchez has played day-in, day-out against all of the players likely to be in the England starting eleven. He will also be aware of Harry Kane, his strengths and perhaps, his weaknesses and ways to keep him quiet.

Yerry Mina has been the better of the performers so far in Russia. But, if Colombia are to have any chance of beating England and making it to the quarter-finals, it will be up to Davinson Sanchez to utilise the information gained from Premier League football.

Will the Tottenham man be able to apply his knowledge when it matters on Tuesday? The outcome of the match might depend on how the duel between Davinson Sanchez and the England attackers turn out.

Prediction

Colombia 1-2 England

This is as even a game as Croatia vs Denmark was to call. Both the teams have often shown that they are prone to errors on the field. But, their belief and ability to change the result of the match with one magical moment is something that has seen them prevail so far.

Colombia though, are likely to miss the services of James Rodriguez. Even if the 2014 Golden Boot winner is able to feature, it is unlikely to be from the start.

England, on the other hand, have failed to create many chances from open play and will rely on the set-pieces again on Tuesday.

Both Colombia and England are a threat from dead-ball situations. In reality, the match is too close to call. This is likely to come down to the form of the two attacks, which is where Harry Kane outshines Falcao.

And the England captain might just be the difference maker for the Three Lions. Expect a narrow England win, with a Harry Kane goal almost a certainty.

Leave A Comment...

*