Colombia take on England on Tuesday, seeking a place in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive World Cup. In 2014, Colombia were propelled to their best run ever by the play of James Rodriguez, who won the tournament’s Golden Boot with six goals. Unfortunately for Colombia, James has been hobbled in Russia, and is in serious doubt to play against England.
James Rodriguez Injury Status
Let’s get right to what’s important: it’s currently unknown if James will play against England. He didn’t train with the team on Monday, but coach Jose Pekerman told reporters “I will tell you one hour before game” when asked about his playing status.
James has been dealing with a recurring calf injury in this tournament, and it was enough to keep him out of the starting lineup for his team’s opener against Japan. He did come on as a substitute, and with him in action Colombia looked threatening even against a 10-man side. James was able to start against Poland, and was named Man of the Match after recording two assists. But in the group finale against Senegal, James lasted only 31 minutes before the calf forced him out of action once again.
“We had good news after the medical tests and after the MRI scan I knew he doesn’t have a serious injury, so we will see how he feels and as always we hope of course he will be able to play for the following games,” Pekerman told reporters Monday.
If he is unable to play, expect Luis Muriel or midfielder Wilmar Barrios to take his place. Muriel has little experience for his national team, but made 29 appearances for Sevilla last season. Barrios is the younger option, a 24-year old who plays club football at Boca Juniors.
“Luis is an option. He was great during the match against Senegal. He has skills that are really valuable, the ability to change pace, and is technically very gifted.”
Even a hint of James’ absence has to make fans of Los Cafeteros nervous. Simply put, Colombia is much better with him in the lineup. Even at 26, James already has the third-most international goals in Colombian history. In seven World Cup games, James has six goals and four assists.
If James is out of the lineup, there’s still a chance he appears as a substitute. James came on in the 59th minute against Japan, so if you’re banking on his return, that’s when to start watching the sidelines.
Source: Heavy Sports