Betting odds: England vs. Colombia, 2 p.m., Fox
- Colombia +303
- England +116
- Draw +224
Bet to Watch:
Colombia +0.5 -125
The biggest question mark heading into Colombia vs. England is whether or not Colombia’s star man, James Rodriguez, will be fit. James has been dealing with a calf issue the entire tournament and was last seen exiting Los Cafeteros’ must-win game against Senegal in the first half. It’s been a roller coaster for James, who played only 30 minutes in Colombia’s first game and then dominated Poland in their second.
Heading into the England game, James is once again questionable. However, he posted a bit of a cryptic tweet on Saturday. All signs seem to point to James not being able to play, which is a devastating blow for Colombia.
The good news for the South Americans is that, even without James, England are not well-suited for this type of matchup. It is true that Colombia are a much better team with him on the field, but the Three Lions lack the talent in the midfield to exploit James’ absence.
Colombia should be able to exploit some mismatches in the center of the pitch and quickly counter as Juan Cuadrado should give England a lot of issues down the flanks. The main reason for England’s success thus far has been their quality on set pieces. England dominated Panama and Tunisia in the air, and that played a huge role in helping them get through Group G.
Colombia are a much more talented and composed side than Tunisia and Panama. And with England’s suspect playmaking in the midfield, Los Cafeteros could have success packing the middle and forcing the ball out wide. At that point, it will be up to Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young to break down the Colombian back line.
With or without James, Colombia have enough talent to beat England. Their recipe for success will be to sit back, soak up some pressure and then launch quick counters. Everyone has been impressed with England, but they should not look past a banged-up Colombia side.