With Spain's shock exit to Russia, Colombia and England are the two most formidable teams left on this side of the bracket. Colombia was the winners of Group H with two wins and a loss, earning them 6 points and a goal differential of +3. In Group G, England impressed in their first two wins and rested eight of their first choice player in their final group match loss to earn 6 points and a goal differential of +5.
Colombia emerged from the 2014 World Cup as one of the top teams, this tournament the team has sought to build on that momentum in 2018. Colombia have freshened up their defensive line with young athletic players like Johan Mojica, Davinson Sánchez and Yerry Mina. The trio have an average age of 23, while they bring a high level of physicality to Colombia's defence, the lack of experience is a worry. Colombia's midfield is led by 2014 Golden Boot winner, James Rodríguez and Juan Cuadrado. Cuadrado is the creative force who starts the attack and can put in a useful cross or through ball and James has the quality to find the back of the net or create a goal scoring opportunity for his forwards. Upfront, Radamel Falcao, Colombia's all-time leading goal scorer, has experienced a rebirth over the past two years. The English defence will need to pay extra attention to Falcao as he is a classic #9 who can find the back of the net if given a sliver of daylight.
The buzz around England's 2018 World Cup campaign is palpable. The nation who claims to have invented football, have not lifted the trophy since 1966 feel that this might be the year to end the drought. Harry Kane is currently the tournament's leading goal scorer with 5. The English Captain has a keen goal scoring instinct, whether a last second poacher's goal versus Tunisia, or a strike from 18 yards out as one of his trio of goal versus Panama. Kane gets a lot of the praise, however much of England's success begins in the midfield with Jesse Lingard and Dele Ali driving the team forward and creating chances upfront. Jordan Henderson is the stabilizing force that anchors the midfield. England have yet to truly be tested in this World Cup, their first hurdle in Colombia presents arguably their most difficult challenge to get to the final. In order to do so, their defence will need to be sharp. The 4-2-3-1 formation will ensure that Colombia's forwards will not have room to operate freely.
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