World Cup 2018: 4 reasons why England must take Colombia seriously
During the last fortnight, the sense of optimism and belief has grown amongst England fans; with the two victories against Tunisia and Panama giving England fans the chance to dream ever so slightly. The three lions, however, were given a rather blunt reality check with a 1-0 defeat to Belgium in their final group game.
The defeat, however, has not stopped some England fans taking to Twitter to analyse their team’s potential quarter-final and semi-final fixtures, with many using the phrase, “it’s coming home” to show their confidence and belief.
However, with such confidence comes the risk of underestimating the opposition; something England must avoid doing this time around if they are to fulfil all the hype surrounding them. There should also be no reason to underestimate Colombia, given the weapons they have at their disposal.
Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero are all capable of hurting teams with their pace and trickery, with three of them having won league titles in one of Europe’s top five leagues. At the back, the likes of David Sanchez and Yerry Mina add the steel and solidity needed to complement their attacking quality, making Colombia a very well-rounded team indeed. All this means the Three Lions will need to concentrate and play at their very best if they are to progress to the quarterfinals.
#4 Colombia’s creativity
Containing Colombia’s vast array of attacking will be real of test England’s concentration and resolve. Many English fans might remember Juan Cuadrado from his rather dismal spell at Chelsea, where he failed to establish a first-team place and was loaned out after half-a-season. Since his move to Juventus, however, he has taken his game to an entirely different level, cementing a place in the starting eleven and leading The Old Lady to three successive Serie A titles. He has also played right-back for Juventus this season, showing that he has the defensive side to go with the attacking prowess.
Although Lionel Messi won the best player award at the 2014 World Cup, almost everybody deep-down knew the award should have gone to James Rodriguez. Rodriguez, however, scored six goals in that tournament, including a stunning volley against Uruguay in the last sixteen to secure the golden boot. James’ performances caught the eye of Real Madrid president Fiorentino Perez, as Rodriguez moved from Monaco to Real Madrid for a fee of 71 million pounds.
In Colombia’s game against Poland, James’ weight of pass and vision proved vital for Juan Cuadrado’s goal as he earned the man of the match award for his all-around performance. The only question marks with Rodriguez lie with his fitness, as he missed the opening game against Japan and is still not a certainty for the England match.
The 26-year-old, however, does have a very worthy replacement in River Plate’s Juan Quintero. When Colombia went down to ten men against Japan after four minutes, all seemed to have been lost. Shinji Kagawa’s resulting penalty gave Japan the lead but Colombia remained spirited and energetic, as Quintero led the fightback. His clever free-kick, which went under the Japanese wall gave Colombia their equaliser and although they lost 2-1, Quintero’s ability was there for all to see.