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    World Cup Preview: Colombia vs. England

    England have made the last 16 of the World Cup. They will face Colombia, who they haven't lost to in 5 meetings between the 2 sides.

    The last time these two countries met in the World Cup was in 1998 where England ran out 2-0 winners with goals coming from Darren Anderton and David Beckham.

    England are ranked 4 places higher than Colombia in the FIFA World Rankings with England in 12th and Colombia in 16th respectively.

    Colombia secured a passage to the knockout phase by topping Group H. Their opening group game started with a 2-1 defeat to Japan with Carlos Sanchez being sent off in the 3rd minute for a deliberate handball. It was an upward battle for them from then on. They redeemed themselves in game 2 with a convincing 3-0 win over Poland. They went into the final group game against Senegal knowing that it was a must win game, which they ran out 1-0 victors. However, during that 1-0 win their star player James Rodriguez limped off with an injury putting him in doubt for the game against England.

    England, meanwhile, finished runners up in Group G but had already secured passage in game 2. They opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Tunisia, Harry Kane netting a last minute winner and his second of the game. England then recorded their highest ever World Cup win beating Panama 6-1 with Kane becoming the 3rd English player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup joining Gary Lineker and Sir Geoff Hurst. Game 3 was to determine the Group winners in a meeting with Belgium, in which England lost 1-0 after making 8 changes to the starting 11 which was met with mixed emotions by fans.

    England have won only 6 games in the knockout stages of the World Cup, the latest coming in 2006 in which David Beckham scored the only goal against Ecuador. The last time we made the knockout stages was a forgettable one with the famous Frank Lampard 'goal' that never was with England trailing 2-1 at the time. The game ended up 4-1 to Germany in 2010.

    Colombia finished quarter-finalists at the last World Cup in 2014 losing 2-1 to Brazil with James Rodriguez winning the Golden Boot with 6 goals from 5 matches.

    England’s path to the World Cup Final was mapped out by Fans and Pundits alike deciding whether it would be better to top the group or finish runners up. Winning the group would have seen us in a tricky possible quarter-final with Brazil. Many fans believe that England finishing runners up is the "Easier Route" to the final. On paper, it looks likely to be the easier route of the 2 but the teams who have made it to the World Cup Knockout Stages are there for a reason having worked hard to make it this far meaning that there will be no easy games. When England were drawn against Iceland in Euro 2016, it was mapped out as the easier route but following an embarrassing 2-1 defeat we can not take anything for granted.

    Colombia will certainly be no pushovers in the forthcoming match. The likes of Falcao, James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado among the stars of this team. Falcao is in great goal scoring form for club Monaco, resurrecting his career following disappointing spells at both Manchester United and Chelsea.

    England fans certainly are showing optimism that hasn't been seen for a number of years. There is that sense that this could be our year, the belief that all them years of hurt could be over and believe that Football could be coming home. Fans are getting behind the lads with very little negative comments.

    Win against Colombia would set up a quarter-final meeting with Sweden or Switzerland. It could also set up a possible semi-final with Russia or Croatia.

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