Where England v Colombia will be won and lost

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England have the chance to end a 12-year wait for a knockout phase victory and reach the World Cup quarter-finals at Colombia’s expense this Tuesday.

Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated last-16 encounter, we analyse some of the key areas for the crunch clash in Moscow.

PICKFORD V OSPINA

Gareth Southgate has made plenty of bold calls during his reign, from edging out all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney to omitting long-serving goalkeeper Joe Hart from his World Cup squad.

The England manager favoured promise over experience throughout this team and his choice of goalkeeper is no different, having plumped for Jordan Pickford as his number one.

Superior footwork edged him ahead of Jack Butland, but the Everton goalkeeper has yet to definitively answer questions that only increased with shaky moments against Belgium.

Tuesday will also be a big test for Colombia’s undisputed number one David Ospina. The 29-year-old has been guilty of making the odd mistake over the years but produced some key saves in this week’s crunch Group H win against Senegal.

goalkeepers eng v col

SET-PIECE THREATS

England have flourished from set-pieces in Russia. Both of Harry Kane’s goals against Tunisia came from corners, leading Panama to panic from dead-ball situations in Nizhny Novgorod.

So concerned were the World Cup debutants that John Stones was allowed to run free and head home an opener as team-mates wrestled bigger threats.

A smart set-piece routine – the brainchild of strikers coach Allan Russell – allowed Stones to grab his second against Panama, before grappling at another corner led to a spot-kick smashed home by Kane.

Belgium dealt much better with set-pieces, although the changes in personnel blunted England’s threat.

Colombia will also pose a threat themselves from dead-ball situations on Tuesday. Southgate may well be unnerved by giant defender Yerry Mina, who nodded his side ahead in the crucial win against Poland before heading the winner from another corner against Senegal.

set pieces

CASE FOR THE DEFENCE

In Mina and Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez, the South Americans arguably boast the best young centre-back pairing in the world.

The giant defenders boast no little talent and have been solid at the heart of a four-man back line, flanked by Santiago Arias and Johan Mojica. Colombia have yet to concede with 11 players on the pitch, having suffered a 2-1 opening-day loss to Japan after Carlos Sanchez’s early red card.

England will again deploy a three-man back line complemented by marauding full-backs – a formation Southgate has been honing since last October. Kyle Walker was brought into it after a successful experiment there against Holland in March, while Manchester City team-mate John Stones is at the heart of it. Harry Maguire looks to have secured himself as the third member of the backline thanks to his confidence on the ball and ability in the air.

But the Leicester defender has looked uncomfortable at times and Walker’s positioning was criticised after giving away a soft penalty against Tunisia. The defence was guilty of allowing Panama to score a consolation from a set-piece and need to be more alert.

col defenders

ATTACKING THREATS

Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman uses the same 4-2-3-1 system that saw them flourish in Brazil, where they reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

Their holding midfielders have interchanged so far in Russia, while their attacking midfield triumvirate offer pace and skill behind Radamel Falcao’s guile.

Juan Quintero, looking resurgent after a tricky few years, is picking the locks behind Falcao, who has an eye for a goal and the chance to hush doubters that grew during difficult periods at Manchester United and Chelsea.

The striker missed the 2014 World Cup through injury so is looking to right some wrongs, while the directness of Juan Cuadrado – another to struggle at Chelsea – offers a threat down the wing.

Injury concerns over star turn and 2014 Golden Ball winner James Rodriguez would damage Colombia, but Premier League viewers will be aware of the threat Brighton’s Juan Izquierdo could pose if brought in.

As for England, they boast the leading goalscorer in Russia. Kane will look to add to his five goals after being given a breather against Belgium.

Raheem Sterling, so brilliant for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, is looking for a first international goal since October 2015. Fit-again Dele Alli is likely to come back into midfield alongside in-form Jesse Lingard and composed Jordan Henderson.

Juan Quintero

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Jesse Lingard vows that England will retain their fearless approach amid increasing World Cup pressure

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Jesse Lingard is enjoying Gareth Southgate‘s “new revolution” and vowed that England will retain their fearless approach amid increasing World Cup pressure.

Colombia lie in wait in the last 16 this Tuesday in Moscow, where the Three Lions will attempt to reach the quarter-finals with a first knockout win since 2006.

It is a mouth-watering opportunity for England’s young squad after promising Group G wins against Tunisia and Panama, when performances as much as results helped bring about renewed positivity around the national team.

Lingard cannot wait for Tuesday’s match and believes a bright future lies ahead under Southgate, who gave the attacking midfielder his debut on his first match in charge of the England team.

“It feels like a new revolution,” the Manchester United man said.

“The manager has come in with great ideas and a great idea of how he wants us to play. The formation suits us perfectly and as a group of lads.

“It’s a youthful squad but we’ve still got experienced players in there and the team spirit is amazing at the moment – everyone has come together and is really bonding.

england (1)

“We’re excited, we’re enjoying the World Cup and we have just got to keep going now.”

But excitement goes hand in hand with tension at this juncture, with England teams of the past failing to cope with mounting pressure.

“We don’t need to change too much,” Lingard, playing at his first senior tournament, said.

“No matter what round we’re in, we’re still going to play the same. We’re going to play with no fear and play with that freedom.

“That’s what got us here today, so why change? We won’t change for anyone or any team. I think everyone’s excited, more than anything

“It’s a great chance for us as players to really go far in this competition and we believe in ourselves that we can do that.”

Lingard will “enjoy the occasion” on Tuesday rather than worry about the possibility of having to pack his bags and head home the following day.

The 25-year-old cannot help but dream of a return to Moscow for the July 15 finale, yet the focus now is on overcoming a Colombia side boasting a variety of threats – including former United team-mate Radamel Falcao.

“A great finisher,” he said of the striker, who struggled at Chelsea after a difficult spell at Old Trafford.

“I think in and around the box he’s lethal. We’ll be aware of that. But you know we’ve got the men to deal with that.

“I think they’re a great side. A tough side, a physical side, so we’re aware of that. But our qualities and our threats can cause them problems too.”

Lingard never got to play a competitive match alongside Falcao, with the attacking midfielder ending the 2014/15 season on loan at Derby as he recovered from a knee ligament injury sustained on his United debut.

That injury on the opening day of the campaign could easily have meant his first United appearance was his last, yet the late developer has kicked on and become a key figure under Jose Mourinho.

“He’s been great with me,” Lingard said of the Portuguese, who backed England as World Cup winners before the tournament.

“He’s put that trust and faith in me to play me in big matches week in, week out.

“It was only up to me then to repay that faith by playing well and putting in performances. He’s played a massive part in my development and I can only thank him for that.”

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Jesse Lingard insists England will have to play big sides at World Cup sooner or later

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Jesse Lingard insists England did not give any thought to which was the ‘better’ side of the draw as their World Cup journey continues.

Argentina and Portugal have already been eliminated in the first knockout round, meaning early departures for their respective star players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

England face Colombia in a tough-looking last-16 match on Tuesday, with a quarter-final against Sweden or Switzerland awaiting them if they win.

The other half of the draw still features Brazil, France and Uruguay, but Lingard is adamant those considerations played no part in how the Three Lions approached their match against Belgium.

“For us, it is game by game, and see where it takes us,” Lingard said at an England press conference on Sunday.

“We have to concentrate one game at a time. We are going to have to play the big teams sooner or later, and if you want to be the best team in the world, you have got to beat the big teams.

“We are not really fussed what side (of the draw) we got chosen on.”

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