Poland and Colombia head into their second fixture of Group H knowing that a loss could eliminate them from the tournament
Poland and Colombia will face each other in Group H at the Kazan Arena on Sunday June 24 after they both lost their opening World Cup matches.
Japan and Senegal were surprise winners in their group and were outside favourites to make it to the last 16 in favour of Poland and Colombia. Colombia lamented the loss of star player James Rodriguez after he was forced out of the starting XI with an injury, while Poland’s Robert Lewandowski was largely ineffective against a rampant Senegal side.
The South American side were unlucky to be down to 10 men and then conceding a penalty to Japan, while Poland also gifted Senegal two goals – one through an own goal and the other through a poor defensive error.
Either team need to play for a victory if they want to continue their realistic chances of making it to the last 16.
Colombia are likely to have star man James Rodriguez back from injury as they look to quickly make up for their 2-1 defeat against Japan. Carlos Sanchez received an early red card for handball which led to Shinji Kagawa’s early goal from the spot. Colombia clawed the game back but ultimately lacked the creativity and composure that Rodriguez offers them in the final third.
Poland went into this World Cup with some high hopes of getting out of their group.
The side impressed in the European Championships back in 2016 and went as far as the quarter finals before being knocked out by eventual winners Portugal on penalties.
Robert Lewandowski also scored an impressive 16 goals in the qualifiers, one more than four-goal Cristiano Ronaldo.
With that in mind, you can never doubt him and Poland getting a goal.
While Colombia don’t rely on one player like Poland do, they do have a well-rounded team with some outstanding talents.
James Rodriguez is the man that obviously makes the country tick but Radamel Falcao is equally as impressive.
Juan Cuadrado’s influence can also not be understated and the diminutive playmaker bagged a fine free-kick versus Japan.
Also at the back they have two decently reliable players in Barcelona’s Yerry Mina and Valencia’s Jeison Murillo.
It will be interesting to see how they both attempt to deal with the threat that is Robert Lewandowski.
It certainly seems as though this one is going to be a close affair especially due to the pressure on both sides after respective defeats in their openers.
2-2. Colombia only know one way to play, and with Rodriguez back in the side they should be able to break through Poland’s defence. That said, Colombia will be exposed at the back and Robert Lewandowski will be itching to open his World Cup account.
Centre-back Kamil Glik has returned to full training can could start for Poland after they failed to put on a good display against Senegal in their 2-1 defeat.
This will be the first ever competitive match between the two sides and a win for either team will leave their opponents scrambling on zero points. Defeat for both teams is not an option. Whatever the result, it will be a fascinating and open game.
Poland and Colombia have it all to play for as the Group H rivals look to knock each other out of the tournament today.
The two nations were favourites to qualify from the group heading into the tournament, but fell to 2-1 defeats against Japan (Colombia) and Senegal (Poland) to leave themselves under pressure after just one game.
With Japan and Senegal playing each other next, the group could immediately open up for the victors at Kazan Arena; for the losers, it will almost certainly be a ticket home.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman is hoping to be able to call on a “100 percent” James Rodriguez. The attacking midfielder, who won the Golden Boot as top scorer at the last World Cup with six goals, has been struggling with a muscle injury and played the last 30 minutes of Colombia’s opening loss to Japan as a substitute.
The Colombians suffered a hammer blow to their campaign when Carlos Sanchez was sent off after three minutes of their opener and Japan scored the subsequent penalty before going on to win 2-1. Sanchez will be suspended against Poland.
As for Poland, coach Adam Nawalka is set to make changes after a 2-1 defeat to Senegal.