World Cup 2018, Colombia vs England: 3 key battles that could decide the match
The last round-of-16 tie will see winners of Group H, Colombia takes on runners-up of Group G, England at the Spartak stadium in Moscow on Tuesday.
The two teams had contrasting fortunes in the group stage. England started their campaign with a 1-0 win over Tunisia and followed it up with a rousing 6-1 victory over debutantes Panama, however, Southgate’s second string side lost 1-0 to Belgium in their final game to finish second in the group.
Colombia, on the other hand, started off poorly as they lost 2-1 to a spirited Japan side in their opening game but, two successive wins over Poland and Senegal meant they claimed the top spot in their group.
While England's stock as a title contender has ostensibly gone up given how well they have performed in the group stage (No, Belgium game doesn't count), Colombia also boasts of some world-class players who, on their day, can hurt the Three Lions pretty bad.
England hasn't managed to win a single knock-out game at a major tournament in 12 years and they would like to get the monkey off their back against the South American side.
While we wait for the match to get underway, let's take a look at three key player battles that could decide the match.
#3 Harry Kane vs Davidson Sanchez
Harry Kane has taken to captaincy as a duck takes to water. While many in the past, have struggled with the extra responsibility, he seems to be completely at ease with it.
Kane enjoyed a wondrous season with Tottenham, scoring 44 goals across all competitions last season and has carried his club form to Russia. If anything, he has raised the bar for himself.
The 22-year-old heads into the round-of-16 tie as the leading goal-scorer (five goals) of the tournament and would like to add onto that tally against Colombia.
But it’s easier said than done as he will be marked by his Spurs teammate Davidson Sanchez on Tuesday.
Sanchez is strong, aggressive and having played alongside Kane in the Premier League, he will be pretty much aware of the Englishman’s tricks.
However, the centre-back was scrappy with his defensive skills in the group stage and therefore, he has to bring his A-game to the fore if he intends to neutralize the England Captain.
Whoever wins the duels, it should surely make for an interesting viewing on Tuesday.