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02 Jul 2018

Tactical Analysis: How do Colombia play and what can England do about it?

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

There’s no ‘u’ in Colombia but there is a team. 

That team are a very talented one and they are becoming less and less quietly genuine competitors for the World Cup.

Colombia are most stacked for quality in attacking midfield and at centre-back. 

In defence, Davinson Sanchez has improved after an exceptionally rocky start to the tournament, being at fault for Carlos Sanchez’ third-minute red card. 

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

His partner Yerry Mina has stood out as an all-action defender this summer. But more defending is not necessarily better defending and his theatrics have the uneasy feeling of being about to fall apart at any moment.

Despite Davinson and Mina being members of ball-playing teams, Tottenham and Barcelona respectively, neither are individually outstanding in that department. 

Instead of possessing the ball from the back, we can expect Colombia to sit a little deeper and set up in more of a counter-attack style against England. 

The name's James - James Rodriguez

The fast-break style has been on display already and it’s been getting the very best out of their varied attacking cast, especially 2014 World Cup star James Rodriguez.

Final-ball-specialist, Rodriguez has managed to put together 152 minutes so far while attempting to play through an injury that would probably rule him out of contention at club level. 

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Current reports suggest he will sit out at least the next round but we shouldn't be surprised if he makes the bench or even risks a start if he’s given the opportunity to make the decision himself.

If he doesn’t Luis Muriel or Jose Izquierdo will come in and play a quicker, more touchline-hugging variation of the left-sided role.

The importance of pressing

The Senegal game demonstrated Colombia’s keenness to and organisation in pressing as well as their vulnerability to being pressed in return.