World Cup 2018: Colombia vs England – 5 things to look forward to

Group H winners Colombia get their knockout campaign underway when they face England at Moscow's Spartak Stadium.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Colombia will attempt to reach the quarter-final of World Cup in a row when they meet Group G runners-up England in Moscow on Tuesday night. 

The 2014 edition of the tournament saw the Colombians reach the last eight for the first time in their history. This time around, they will have to get past a young, rejuvenated England side to do it again. 

Colombia topped their group after a dramatic last round of games saw them beat Senegal 1-0 as Japan lost to Poland by the same scoreline. They had been beaten by the Japanese before convincingly beating the Polish 3-0. 

England also finished with six points in Group H and were the second-highest scorers of the group stages, level on eight goals with Russia.

Gareth Southgate’s side had looked impressive in their opening two matches, putting six past Panama and two past Tunisia. 

There are questions over the potential loss of momentum, though, after England made a host of changes as they were beaten by Belgium in the final round of games. 

Here are five things to look forward to from the game:

  1. 1 Harry Kane vs Radamel Falcao

    All eyes will be on the two front players on Tuesday night. 

    Colombia's Falcao finally got a World Cup goal in the group stages, and Colombia will hope that the ending of the barren spell can prove to be a kick-starter for their number nine. 

    Falcao has been leading the line for Colombia so far in Russia and looks set to retain his spot for the quarter-final. 

    Harry Kane has had a much brighter start to the World Cup than his opposite number and leads the golden boot scoring charts with five goals in two matches. 

    Kane is integral to his England side's hopes of going far in Russia and he will be fresh after being rested for the game against Belgium.

    The Three Lion's skipper is leading by example, but will need all the support he can get from his teammates if his side are to edge this one.

  2. 2 Both teams to be missing players?

    REUTERS/Lee Smith

    Both sides go into Tuesday evening with their own respective injury concerns. 

    For the Colombians, James Rodriguez, who set the 2014 tournament alight, is still a doubt after coming off injured halfway through the crunch clash with Senegal. 

    Rodriguez is influential in the Colombian midfield and the level of creativity drops somewhat when he is absent. 

    Dele Alli may not yet be fit to start for England but is confident in himself that he is ready to return to the action in some capacity. 

    He missed the game against Panama and Belgium with an injury sustained in the first match with Tunisia but, deployed as a number ten in behind Kane and Raheem Sterling, he will be eager to end an unconvincing season on a high. 

  3. 3 A rested England or momentum ruined?

    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

    Manager Gareth Southgate was a man stuck between a rock and a hard place on the eve of the game with Belgium.

    Having already secured progress to the round of 16, the outcome of last Thursday's game was to decide the order in which the two sides would finish.

    Southgate rested most of what many would consider his strongest XI, choosing to rotate in some players yet to feature with Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson, Kieran Trippier and Raheem Sterling just a few names who were told to take a seat for the final game.

    While the backroom team will argue the importance of giving the fringe squad a game and affording sufficient rest to others, some may argue that a win would have been more beneficial.

    Will Southgate's plan backfire...?

  4. 4 Shoot-out nightmares for England?

    REUTERS/Marko Djurica

    Penalty shoot-outs and England are like chalk and cheese - the English do not get on with them.

    In fact, the Three Lions have lost six out of seven penalty shoot-outs they have been involved in at a World Cup. 

    The end of extra-time has always been a doom and gloom moment for England and their fans and having already witnessed two games go all the way so far in the Round of 16, the nightmares will crop up once more. 

    They say there's only so much practice a team can do on taking penalties but England will be keen to decide the tie on their own terms. 

  5. 5 What to do with Raheem Sterling?

    REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

    Raheem Sterling was at the centre of the English media's attention in the build-up to the tournament, as he often unfairly is. However, his performances so far in Russia won't have done much to get his critics off his back. 

    The Manchester City star has been rather anonymous so far, but is he hindered by the job he's being asked to do?

    Southgate's system and formation appears to suit every player except for Sterling, who is being asked to fill a role he isn't used to.

    With Sterling often deployed as a winger in a 4-3-3 formation for his club side, is Southgate selecting the wrong option to partner Kane... a square peg in a round hole?

    How do you see this fixture going? Let us know by commenting below.

  1. Poll: Who will win on Tuesday evening?

    1. Colombia
    2. England
    24 votes
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