Who will be the key men for Colombia v England?
England may find themselves in the easier half of the World Cup knockout stage draw. But their opponents in the last-16 will be no pushovers.
In fact, Colombia represent clear and present danger to England’s chances of progression. Their mix of pace, power and technical ability is potent.
However, Jose Pekerman’s side could be without his best player and biggest name, James Rodriquez. The Bayern Munich ace picked up a calf injury in their final group game and is a huge doubt here.
We’d not be telling you anything you didn’t know about him, anyway. So we’ll guide you three other major threats for El Cafeteros.
The FC Porto attacking midfielder was once-touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner when he burst onto the scene a number of years ago.
But his career didn’t pan out as many expected. His move to Porto was stop-start and saw him loaned out to Ligue 1 outfit Rennes. He then returned home to Independiente Medellin, followed by the last six months at River Plate.
The 25-year-old left-footer is a live-wire with fantastic dribbling skills and the ability to thread the eye of a needle with his passing.
The Barcelona centre-half has made a big impression on this World Cup. While he may not have yet broken into the Barca first XI, he’s performed very well for Pekerman’s team.
At 6ft 4in, the 23-year-old is a towering presence at the heart of the Colombia defence. His partnership with Tottenham Hotspur’s Davinson Sanchez has heralded two clean sheets from three so far.
And he’s also weighed in with two goals at the other end. He bagged in both the Poland and Senegal wins. With England looking a little susceptible on opposition set-plays, Mina could have a big part to play at both ends.
Okay, so Falcao probably won’t be an unknown to you. But the Monaco striker most certainly will be one-to-watch.
The 32-year-old scored his first ever World Cup goal against Poland and has generally looked dangerous throughout the tournament.
He may have slowed a little after various injuries, but his movement and finishing are still sharper than a Stanley knife.
England have looked a little open defensively in Russia and the former Atletico Madrid forward’s darting runs could cause serious problems for John Stones and co.
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