Both these sides were expected to qualify for the second round, although Group H has proven to be the most open at the tournament. Poland and Colombia will now clash in a match that will see the loser go home, while Senegal and Japan will fight for a place in the Round of 16 in the other match.
Poland were unlucky to concede against Senegal, although didn’t offer enough in attack themselves. They will fancy themselves against Japan in their final match, yet they must ensure they get the job done here to have their fate in their own hands.
The Colombians too were unlucky in having a player sent off in the opening five minutes, and still looked good enough to win with ten men until they tired late against Japan. This could be quite a tense affair as we could see a good team going home, although whichever way you look at it we’re sure to see a thrilling match between two high-ranked sides.
Statistics show that we should expect goals in this match. Poland managed to qualify for the tournament with relative ease, winning eight of their ten matches and scoring plenty of goals (thanks mostly to captain Robert Lewandowski who netted a record-breaking 16 on his own). Yet the Poles weren’t exactly solid at the back. The 14 goals they conceded were the most of the nine European qualification group winners.
While the Polish team managed just two clean sheets during qualification, the Colombians were slightly better, conceding just over 1 goal per match and achieving 7 clean sheets from 18 matches. This was also achieved in arguably the toughest qualification zone on the planet, so there’s credibility behind these numbers, although they may find it hard to keep out one of the best strikers on the planet, particularly as Japan managed a goal against them from a corner.
Throughout qualification, Colombia achieved their best results when playing defensive soccer and looking to strike on the counter. We can see this match unfolding exactly like that, and given that both teams have a habit of striking late in matches, we could see a result achieved at the death.
This match is tough to pick. The sides are very close in ability and the odds available indicate that it’s going to be tough to split the pair. Poland enter as the slight outsiders, paying +220, while Colombia are close favourites at +123. The draw is quite low as well, offering +237.
We don’t think the honours will be even here, we’re sure that one team will find a way to win this match, and we re going with the South Americans. Our prediction is a 2-1 win to Colombia.