Poland 0-3 Colombia: 5 things we learned

After returning from injury, James Rodríguez stars as Colombia bury Polish World Cup dream.

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Poland are out of the World Cup after a disastrous defeat to Colombia in Kazan. 

After two games, Adam Nawalka’s side remain pointless and can make a reasonable claim to be the worst side in the tournament, trudging through consecutive defeats and conceding five goals.

Of course, the loss of Kamil Glik was hardly beneficial. But the manner of his injury, picked up attempting to overhead kick a ball after a training session had finished, summed up the Polish World Cup adventure.

For Colombia, though, this was a return to the sort of football that we saw in Brazil four years ago. 

Perennial dark horses, Los Cafeteros always seem to thrive when expectations are low. Now, however, those expectations will be on the rise and, should they make it through to the knock-out stages, they could cause problems for unsuspecting opponents.

In a game that provided the first major scalp of the tournament, here are five things we learned.

  1. 1 James returns to his magical best

    REUTERS/Jorge Silva

    James Rodriguez has lived happily off the hype of his performance at the World Cup four years ago but on Sunday he reminded everyone of his talents. 

    The man who was at Bayern Munich on loan last season created two wonderful assists for Yerry Mina and Radamel Falcao, proving himself central to Colombia's resurgent play. 

    The top scorer in the last World Cup, Rodriguez has still posted the highest number of goals and assists across both of the last two tournaments combined.

    If Los Cafeteros have any chance or replicating the success of 2014, Rodriguez will be the director.

  2. 2 Nawalka's tactics backfire

    REUTERS/Toru Hanai

    Poland tried to be brave in Kazan. 

    Lukasz Piszczek was the biggest name in their three-man backline but it became plain early on that the formation couldn't contain Colombia's wingers. 

    Juan Cuadrado, in particular, ripped past the attentions of Maciej Rybus at will. 

    Bizarrely, Adam Nawalka failed to adapt to the obvious failure of his system, leaving his players marooned in the face of an onslaught.

  3. 3 Lewy gets lost

    REUTERS/John Sibley

    Having scored 21 goals in his last 16 international appearances, one might have expected some cut and thrust from Robert Lewandowski. 

    'The Body', however, has remained lifeless in both of his country's games, afforded precious little service by a supporting cast that just wasn't good enough. 

    At 30, it might have been his only chance to shine at the World Cup. He will be ravaged, then, by the desolate nature of his performance in Kazan.

  4. 4 Juan to watch

    REUTERS/Toru Hanai

    Two years ago, Juan Quintero wasn't even sure he wanted to be a footballer. 

    A hype-ridden spell at Porto had precipitated a torrid fall from grace with the winger contemplating retirement from the sport altogether.

    His country will be thankful that he persisted. Quintero was astonishing on Sunday, skating through the lazy Polish press with a raft of slide-rule passes. 

    The lumbering attentions of Grzegorz Krychowiak were no match for a man who, after years of adversity, finally seems to be approaching his zenith.

  5. 5 Falcao has his moment

    REUTERS/Jorge Silva

    At 32, Radamel Falcao has finally scored at the World Cup. 

    It's been a long road since his professional debut as a skulking 13-year-old, taking in gluttonous stints at Atletico Madrid and Porto and injury-ravaged times in England. 

    He might be a yard slower and breathing more heavily than in his prime but Falcao showed all of his nous to slide a clever finish under the naïve Woijiech Szczesny to decide this fixture. 

    A marvellous moment that was fully deserved.

    What did you think of the game? Let us know by commenting below.

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