Injuries loom as England and Colombia meet in the final match of the Round of 16. The nation of Colombia holds their breath for the right calf of James Rodriguez, which could keep the superstar out of Tuesday’s contest. Colombia are looking to repeat their quarterfinal run at the 2014 World Cup, while England attempt to win their first match in the Knockout Phase since 2006.
Colombia vs. England Squads
For both teams really, the biggest injury news of the day will be for James. He came off after just 31 minutes in his team’s final against Senegal, a 1-0 victory that they had to have in order to top the group. Rodriguez was forced to sit out training on Monday, and when asked about his status, coach Jose Pekerman told reporters, “I’ll tell you one hour before the game.”
Losing James is no joking matter. He’s the key playmaker for Colombia, not to mention the 2014 Golden Boot winner. In the only game he started during group play, he assisted twice and was named Man of the Match in a 3-0 win over Poland.
If Rodriguez is unable to perform, the defensive focus for England will shift to Radamel Falco and Juan Cuadrado. If Rodriguez cannot play, then 27-year old Luis Muriel will start in his place. Muriel has two goals in 19 appearances for Colombia, and made 29 appearances for Spanish club Sevilla last season. Colombia is also expected to get Abel Aguilar into the squad, after an muscle injury prevented the midfielder from playing against Senegal. Because of suspensions and injuries, Colombia’s formation could g
For England, coach Gareth Southgate has had the luxury of resting his players for his group finale against Belgium. Now the entire squad is fresh and ready, even Dele Alli, who sat out his team’s matches against Costa Rica and Belgium.
For a young squad like England, they’d surely prefer this match to end in regulation. England have been eliminated from the World Cup three times, more than any other team in the world. Side note- can you imagine the widespread panic that would ensue if England had started their group stage like Colombia did? A 10-man loss to Japan is a tough pill to swallow, but give credit to Los Cafeteros for rallying and winning two tough matches.
Now with most of the quality teams on the opposite side of the bracket, this could be a huge opportunity for both teams. The winner here has a winnable matchup against either Sweden or Switzerland, followed by the winner of Russia and Croatia in the semifinals. Just to make things clear: there’s a chance that the winner today needs to only beat Switzerland and Russia to reach the World Cup final.
If James Rodriguez can’t get in the action, he might at least be able to see his Golden Boot torch get passed. Harry Kane leads all scorers with five goals in the tournament, and only Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku is within one goal.
Colombia vs. England Lineups
Lineups are released one hour before kickoff
Source: Heavy Sports