ENGLAND WITH POINT TO PROVE

England will attempt to reach the quarter-finals when the Three Lions battle it out with Columbia in Tuesday’s World Cup last 16 clash at the Otkritie Arena in Moscow.

Besides, it will be a patient, nervous wait for England supporters during this last of the eight ties to be played.

Gareth Southgate has described it as England’s biggest game in a decade and it’s hard to argue with that assessment with the draw opening up and presenting his side with a golden opportunity to reach a World Cup semi-final.

Talk before, during and even after the Belgium game has centred around whether making wholesale changes was the right call and quite simply the answer to that question lies in the result of this game.

Win it and Southgate’s move will be labelled a masterstroke and his side will be favourites to at least equal their best showing at a major tournament since 1966.

That would be a remarkable achievement for this young group of players but England can’t afford to get ahead of themselves just yet and for all its early promise, defeat would leave Southgate’s men with little to reflect on besides two group wins against second-rate opposition.

The omens are good in that England have never lost to Colombia but they can’t afford to underestimate the South Americans.

Much will depend on the fitness of James Rodriguez and English hopes will improve dramatically if he is ruled out or is short of 100% fit.

However they are by no means a one-man team with Radamel Falcao back to his best and looking very sharp up front while Juan Fernando Quintero and Juan Cuadrado ensure he gets good service.

Colombia have done well to reach this stage after a shocking start to the tournament saw them a goal and a man down after just 6 minutes against Japan in their opening game.

They competed well with 10 men in that game, losing only 2-1 before winning their final two matches to top the group.

Their performance against Poland was particularly impressive but England’s three-man defence of Walker, Stones and Maguire is yet to be properly tested in a tough competitive fixture such as this and a failure to keep a clean sheet in any of the group games suggests it could still be the Three Lions’ weak spot.

Besides Jordan Pickford has looked uncertain in goal too and Colombia will look to test him with a few efforts from range.

This though is a bolder, more exciting England than we’ve seen in previous tournaments and they will back themselves to outscore the Colombians if it develops into a genuinely open game.

The intensity and quality that was lacking against Belgium should return given the players Southgate has to bring in and we should see far more from England in the final third on Tuesday.

Meanwhile England’s captain Harry Kane, who already netted 13 times in his last 10 internationals, will be hungry to add to the five goals he has already managed at this World Cup as he chases the Golden Boot.

Copyright: www.freesupertips.co.uk
 

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