It’s fair to suggest that Colombia’s opening defeat against Japan was deceptive of the South American side’s true qualities, especially considering that much of that game was made complicated by Carlos Sanchez’s early red card. Colombia’s recovery to smash Poland and beat Senegal won them a tricky group, and experienced manager Jose Pekerman’s side exemplified efficiency in doing so. Colombia are the most shot-shy of all the sides left in the competition, with a mere 25 shots, and only 8 on target; but with 40% of their shots having been blocked and a converstion rate of 63% on their accurate strikes, Falcao et al have shown that they’re clearly a side that will make the most of any chances they get.

Colombia vs England Prediction and Preview

England, meanwhile, ended their group stage on a bizarre note with a team selection clearly intent on managing a controlled defeat against Belgium, presumably to “avoid” the supposed harder side of the draw. That thinking may be flawed considering the deserved 1st place qualification of sides like Croatia and Sweden in groups featuring more fancied heavyweights. It may be even more flawed should they fail to rise to the threat of Colombia. England’s numbers are broadly flattering, given the quality (or lack thereof) posed by Tunisia and Panama. But four set-piece goals and two penalties against two of the weaker sides in the tournament asks reasonable questions of England’s capacity to play against better quality opponents.

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Tactical Considerations:

Jose Pekerman’s tactical approach has remained consistent across their three group matches, with a 4231 characterised by experience in goal with David Ospina (his save rate of 81% is currently one of the 10 best in the competition), powerful physicality at centre back with Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez, and a frightening attacking quartet of Cuadrado, Quintero, Rodriguez and Falcao. Quintero in particular has finally emerged to reveal the creative qualities that many suspected were present, and his passing vision will be especially important to expose the frailties in England’s backline. Golden Boot 2014 winner Rodriguez is also a doubt due to a long-standing calf injury, which may be good luck for England to the extent that options on the bench aren’t (understandably) of the same quality. Colombia are also – arguably – short at fullback and central midfield; Pekerman has already experimented with Sanchez, Uribe, Barrios and Lerma in midfield, and their ability (or lack thereof) to meaningfully protect against the England transitions could be a key factor for England to exploit.

Gareth Southgate’s 3142 should revert back to the first-choice lineup against Colombia, following the extensive changes made against Belgium. The clash between Mina / Sanchez and Kane / Sterling is a fascinating prospect, though the versatile England forward should have the better of the exchange, provided he gets enough service from behind him. Creativity will be a more important issue for England to solve in this match, but the likes of Lingard, Loftus-Cheek or Dele Alli should fancy their chances against whatever midfield Colombia choose to put on the field. The biggest two issues for England are behind the frontline; Jordan Henderson’s defensive effectiveness could be exposed massively by Quintero’s incisiveness, and the spaces behind England’s wingers pose massive opportunity for Cuadrado, Rodriguez or Muriel to exploit.

Match Facts & Summary

  Colombia England
World Cup Base Tatarstan Republic St. Petersburg
2014 World Cup Finish Quarterfinal Group Stage
Total Head to Head Record Played 5, England 3 Wins
Head to Head (World Cup Only) Played 1, England 1 Win
Penalty Shootout Record None contested Won 0 of 3
Odds – Result 3.10 1.09
Odds – To Win World Cup 22.00 7.50 (4th favourite)
Best Odds – Golden Boot Falcao (75.00) Kane (1.45)
Best Odds – Golden Ball Rodriguez (53.00) Kane (7.00)

 

Our Prediction:

The second string lineup against Belgium aside, England’s performances have looked good, but the question mark remains about their readiness to handle better quality opposition. Colombia weren’t perfect winners of Group H, but they’ve already been stretched far more by their opponents, and that’s with suspension affecting Sanchez and injuries interfering with Aguilar and Rodriguez. Colombia’s ruthlessness in front of goal combined with no penalties given the quality of their opposition speaks a few more volumes about their ability to create good quality chances and finish them off. Both sides have equal capability at set pieces too. It’s been 20 years since England beat Colombia 2-0 in their last World Cup meeting and England do possess more of the right toolset to repeat the result again. Colombia have tactical elements in their favour, but the England attack may have just that bit more quality to worry the South Americans to manage their way into the quarterfinal.

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* Please note – odds mentioned above are subject to change, so always check the latest published odds to be fully certain before betting.

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