World Cup 2018: Colombia Team, Predicted Playing XI and Starting Lineup vs England
UPDATE: Colombia have announced their starting lineup and James Rodriguez misses out.
Colombia XI vs England: Ospina, Arias, Mina, Davinson, Mojica, Sanchez, Lerma, Barrios, Cuadrado, Quintero, Falcao.
The final World Cup Round of 16 game sees Colombia take on England in what promises to be an exciting game with the winner set to take on either Sweden or Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
It has been a World Cup of upsets but this fixture will see two evenly-matched teams - a young England side and a Colombian side that has a mixture of youth and experience.
For England, their true test begins now. For Colombia, it is an opportunity to reach the quarter-finals again after their famous 2014 run. This time, the team looks much stronger and one could say that this generation of players has the potential to go far in the tournament.
"We are a better team than four years ago," Ospina said at the pre-match press conference. "We are together, more experienced and a stronger squad of players than we were in Brazil.
"We have experience and good quality. Our players play in the best clubs, the best leagues, and are used to playing in matches of this size, so nothing will frighten us.
Colombia Team News
The major worry for Colombia ahead of their fixture against the Three Lions is the fitness of their talisman James Rodriguez. The Bayern Munich midfielder won the Golden Boot in Brazil in 2014 but has been hit by injuries in this campaign.
The South American side are sweating over his availability after he hobbled off the pitch in their third and final group stage fixture. At the time, the Colombian FA released a statement that said he had "a minor edema [swelling caused by an accumulation of fluid] in his right leg".
"We had good news after his medical tests," said head coach Jose Pekerman. "After his MRI we knew he doesn't have a serious injury so we have one and a half days to see how he feels and as always we hope that he will be able to play."
The only other injury in the side is midfielder Abel Aguilar who is unavailable for the match.
How will Colombia line up against England?
Without Rodriguez, it is highly likely that Colombia will play a 4-3-2-1 formation. They were also seen trying to play with that formation in training sessions.
David Ospina will start in goal with Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina partnered in central defence. Mina has proved himself to be a major threat in set-pieces, having scored a goal apiece against Poland and Senegal in the group stages.
Johan Mojica will start at left-back while Santiago Arias will start at right-back. The three central midfielders could be Carlos Sanchez in the centre with Mateus Uribe and Wilmar Barrios on either side.
With Juan Quintero and Juan Cuadrado ahead of them, this will give Colombia numbers in midfield. But Cuadrado could drift wide as he usually does.
The attack will be led by veteran striker Radamel Falcao. The AS Monaco star has only scored one goal in the World Cup so far and will look to trouble England's central three-man defence with supporting runs from Cuadrado.
Should Rodriguez return to full fitness, one of the three central midfielders will be benched so he can start alongside Quintero.
Colombia XI and Formation
Note: This article will be updated after the starting lineups are announced.
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