By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- England will try and overcome the
weight of history when they face Colombia in the last 16 of the
World Cup in Moscow on Tuesday.
The Colombians will
attempt to repeat their feats of four years ago by securing a
place in the quarter-finals of the tournament for the second
time in a row.
England changed nine
of their outfield players as they lost to Belgium in their last
group game. Coach Gareth Southgate will soon find out if that
was the right policy as he looks to lead England to their first
win in the knockout stage of a major tournament since they
defeated Ecuador at the same stage in 2006.
Southgate has his
entire squad available except for Fabian Delph, who flew back to
the UK on Friday for the birth of his third child. Dele Ali is
expected to replace Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the midfield after a
calf strain saw him sidelined against Panama and Belgium.
John Stones should
have no problems playing in defense after he was seen with an
ice-bag on his calf after being substituted at half time against
Belgium, but Southgate said that had always been his intention.
Harry Kane will be England’s main danger man as the leader of
the race for the 2018 Golden Boot looks to add to the five goals
he scored in the first two matches.
England have shown
themselves to be a huge threat from set pieces with six of the
eight goals they have scored in Russia coming from dead-ball
situations. Colombia will look to their big central defender
Yerry Mina to counteract that threat. The Barcelona stopper has
scored two goals himself from set-pieces taken by Juan Quintero,
who along with Juan Cuadrado, could find himself tasked with
providing Colombia’s creative play if James Rodriguez is unfit.
James has been
struggling with a muscle problem throughout the competition and
had to be replaced after just 30 minutes in Colombia’s last game
against Senegal. His loss would be a major blow for the South
Americans. Hopes are high among the English and even more so
with a possible quarter-final against Sweden or Switzerland, but
to reach the quarters they need first to get past Colombia and
12 years of disappointment.
England coach urges team to
“write their own story”
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
England coach Gareth Southgate has urged his team
to write their own story by beating Colombia and advancing to
The Three Lions,
which haven’t won a game in the knockout stages of a World Cup
since 2006, advanced to the round of 16 at this year’s
tournament as runners up of their group.
“It’s 10 years since
we won a knockout fixture. For this team, it’s a brilliant
opportunity to go beyond where more experienced teams have gone
before. They’re relishing that chance,” Southgate told a
pre-match press conference here.
“We’re viewing the
game (against Colombia) as one with an opponent we really
respect...These are the games you want to be involved in, and
the lads have the chance to write their own stories now,” said
Spain and Portugal out, England have been tipped as one of the
favorites, but Southgate said his team would just focus on the
upcoming match and nothing beyond that.
“We’ve been in this
position before. Many times over the last however many years.
It’s pointless us even thinking about what might happen after
tomorrow’s game. We focus on the game, on our performance, and
everything will fall into place from there,” he said.
confirmed that midfielder Fabian Delph, who has flown home to be
with his wife who is going to give birth to his child, will not
“The thought process
is some things in life are more important than football. His (Delph’s)
wife is due to go into labour. This is a big tournament, but
family is more important. At times like this, players who are
family orientated should be supported by us,” he said.
“There’s only one
day in your life when your children is born. I know my father’s
generation would view that differently, but you have to be there
for your family,” he added.
James Rodriguez has no serious
injury, says Colombia coach Pekerman
Moscow Russia (Xinhua) --
Colombia coach Jose Nestor Pekerman told
reporters on Monday that James Rodriguez had no serious injury
but whether the midfielder can play the World Cup game against
England has not been decided.
Rodriguez was forced off by muscular injury in World Cup Group H
match against Senegal last Thursday. The Bayern Munich star made
no attempts at the goal and only 10 passes for 30 minutes.
Pekerman said after
the medical test he got the good news of the key player. “We
knew that he has no serious injury, but we still have a day and
a half to see how he feels. We hope that he can play for the
following games,” the coach added.
When asked about
whether Rodriguez can start in Tuesday’s match against England,
the Argentine refused to release more details. “I will tell you
the starting 11 just one hour before the game,” said Pekerman.
68-year-old coach implied that if Rodriguez is not able to
start, Luis Muriel will be his choice. Pekerman said Muriel’s
performance against Senegal “helped us a lot and the
characteristics of him were very important”.
opponents, Pekerman said England’s Harry Kane was one of the top
scorers in the world and the coach emphasized that his men need
to be careful about the Tottenham Hotspur forward.
Pekerman also said
England, who made the wholesale changes of their starting 11 in
the final group stage match against Belgium, are able to rest
their main players which is “something beneficial”.
“World Cup is a
tournament of few days of recovery between match and match, more
rest always gives an advantage,” Pekerman said, “But for us it
is also an important opportunity, since we have been playing
very hard in decisive games which gave us a lot of credibilities
that we are strong.”
Tuesday’s match in
Moscow between Colombia and England will be the last round of 16
Southgate: We have connected
with our fans again
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
England coach Gareth Southgate believes his
plyers have given supporters reason to dream again as they
prepare to face Colombia on Tuesday for a place in the World Cup
quarterfinals with hopes of progressing even further in the
Southgate took over
the England job after Sam Allardyce’s short tenure in charge in
the wake of Roy Hodgson’s departure following the depressing
exit from the 2016 European Championships, which marked a low
point for England. Although they were unbeaten in their
qualifying campaign, Wembley Stadium was never full for a game
and on several occasion the players were booed by their fans.
“Ten months ago we
qualified and people were throwing paper aeroplanes onto the
pitch at Wembley,” said Southgate.
“We were driving
back to our hotel in Malta with some obscene chants being thrown
at us from supporters,” said the England coach, who notices a
change after impressive displays in warm-up games and wins
against Tunisia and Panama to start the World Cup.
“I feel like we’ve
started to connect the team with the public again. I feel like
we’ve created excitement, like we’ve played in a style that has
really shown an expression of what young English players are
capable of,” he said on Sky News.
Speaking to the
press on Sunday, England midfielder Jesse Lingard looked ahead
to the Colombia game saying the South Americans were a “tough
and physical side, but we are aware of our qualities and our
He also praised
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who had an unsuccessful spell
at England with Manchester United and Chelsea, but who has
returned to form in France.
“He is a great
finisher in and around the box, but we have to be aware of it
and deal with it,” said Lingard.