Match Preview: Colombia vs. England, Round of 16, World Cup 2018

By on July 3, 2018

gareth-southgate

The first knockout round of the 2018 World Cup has already seen some major names exit the tournament: Spain, Portugal and Argentina are all on a plane home. If England are to capitalise on this and reach the latter-stages of a World Cup for the first time since 1990 they need to produce their first winning performance in a knockout game in 12 years.

Gareth Southgate’s men head into tonight’s Round of 16 match against Group H winners Colombia with a renewed sense of national optimism and pride oozing out of their camp. The manner of the team’s opening two wins against Tunisia and Panama has left a new generation of England fans, many of whom have never seen their country play so well on the world stage, with a new-found excitement about their national side. Do they dare to dream?

Harry Kane, an Englishman, currently sits on top of the Golden Boot standings. England can boast quality across their first XI and a fluid attacking style that has been absent for many a year. Take even a cursory glance at English football channels across social media and you’ll encounter posts, tweets and memes emblazoned with “It’s Coming Home”. Yet with all that said, England will have to navigate their way past a tricky Colombia side who impressed during the group stage.

The Three Lions head into this match as clear bookies favourites with the betting sites, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Most well-read armchair pundits are giving Colombia more credit than the bookies are, with their swashbuckling attacking style and a host of star names including Falcao, Cuadrado and Quintero.  A lot hangs on the performance of their star-man, James Rodriguez, who looks likely to play a part in this match despite a recent niggling calf-strain which has limited his World Cup minutes. Can he help propel his country to a famous victory against England? Or will Colombia’s dependency on him and a lack of fitness be an obvious weakness for England to exploit?

After fielding a second-string side against Belgium in the final Group G match, Gareth Southgate will likely revert to his preferred full-strength XI tonight. The likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli will lead the attacking line in what is surely the biggest test of Southgate’s tenure as manager. A lot has been made of this being the ‘easy’ half of the draw but Southgate has been keen to instill a ‘seize the moment’ mindset among his players, and he’ll be hoping that his decision to rest players for the Belgium match will come good in the end.

England fans who fancy a punt on tonight’s game in Moscow should visit one of our betting partners to read the best betting tips for the match or claim some insane betting offers from top UK bookies. For tonight’s game you can claim an insane 40/1 enhanced odds offer if you sign-up for a new betting account and back the Three Lions for the win!

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