MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- Tuesday sees the last two games of the
last-16 phase of the World Cup finals as Colombia play England,
while Sweden take on Switzerland for a place in the
quarterfinals: here are some things to keep an eye out for on
what promises to be another fascinating day of football at the
Can Colombia survive without James?
James Rodriguez is
an injury doubt for Colombia ahead of their game against
England. The top scorer of the 2014 World Cup had to leave the
pitch in the first half of his side’s win over Senegal in their
last match and has struggled with a muscle problem all
tournament. If James plays and is fit, his creativity is key to
Colombia and if he misses it all the responsibility it will be
down to wide players Juan Cuadrado and Juan Quintero, whose set
pieces have been a key weapon for Colombia so far in Russia.
Will England regain momentum?
A lot of the debate
over Gareth Southgate’s nine team changes against Belgium was
over whether a defeat would see England lose the momentum their
World Cup campaign had picked up after wins over Tunisia and
Panama. Harry Kane and the rest of the starters from the first
two games will be back against Colombia, and this is the
question everyone in England is asking: can they pick up where
they left off against Panama? If they can, Southgate will be a
hero, but if not, he can prepare for criticism.
Sweden to push on?
Sweden’s World Cup
has been a strange one so far: lucky to beat South Korea with a
penalty in their first game, unlucky to lose to a 95th
minute goal against Germany and totally convincing to destroy
Mexico 3-0 in their last match. When the Swedes opened up
against Mexico they played their best football of the
tournament, so will they look to be positive against the Swiss,
after seeing how Costa Rica made them suffer, or will we see a
more cautious approach with the quarterfinal just a game away?
Swiss to spread their wings?
The Swiss have made
their way into the last 16 almost under the radar as if people
continue to not take them seriously as a football nation.
However, the team made up from players from a wealth of ethnic
backgrounds has shown unity and tenacity on their way into the
knockout stage and are perhaps slight favorites to reach the
quarterfinals. They were surprised by an aggressive Costa Rica
in their last match and will miss the suspended defensive duo of
Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schar, but will once again look
to Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami to work hard in the engine
room while hoping that Xerdan Shaqiri will provide inspiration