The final match of the Round of 16 sees Colombia face England, and the winner will fancy themselves going a long way in this tournament as this side of the draw is definitely the weaker of the two. For this very reason, all the talk in England is of the cup ‘coming home’, although they must be careful not to look too far ahead as they face a tricky South American opponent.
England are an interesting prospect. They struggled to break down Tunisia before Harry Kane came to their aid late in their opening match, while they looked sensational against Panama, albeit a team that is ranked miles below them and finished last in the tournament. Not much can be said about their performance against Belgium, as both teams rested the majority of their stars.
Colombia’s current lineup is possibly their best in a number of decades, proven by their recent WC performances. The CONMEBOL team have won six of their last eight WC matches, losing only to Brazil in the quarter-finals of last year’s tournament and Japan in their first match of 2018 (although being reduced to ten men in the fourth minute didn’t help).
Interestingly, Colombia destroyed a disappointing Polish side, yet barely defeated Senegal in their final match. Perhaps this was due to James Rodriguez’s early departure, and this is a key narrative leading into this game. If James can’t recover from injury, you would think that England’s first choice team would be too good, especially considering the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard have had their feet up for a week.
Dele Alli is England’s only major injury concern, although his absence was not missed against Panama. True, Colombia are a much better team, although it may be unwise to rush him back.
The odds are in favour of England in this match, and they will start at +102. Colombia are outsiders at +288, while the draw is quite short and will be on offer for +225.
There’s certainly a case of the draw here, as the market is based on the score at the end of 90 minutes, although we weren’t impressed by Colombia in their final match and think England at full strength can bring home the victory. With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Colombia are a good chance to score against an England side that has conceded in all three matches, so we’re going with 2-1 as the final score.