Editorial (July 2, 2018) — Colombia has a golden opportunity to make an incredible run in this year’s World Cup. They only have to face England in the Round of 16, either Switzerland or Sweden in the quarter-finals and probably Croatia in the semifinals.
Yes, it sounds like an extremely difficult task to do, but if Los Cafateros can replicate their last two performances, they’re going to be almost unstoppable.
2018 FIFA World Cup: Colombia’s Chances at Making the Most Out of the “Easy” Side of the Bracket
Indeed, Colombia has as good of a chance to reach the final as they’ve ever had. However, we are witnessing an unexpected World Cup in Russia and at this point, anything can happen.
But the side knows a single error can send them back to home, which is why head coach José Pekerman has to focus on reinforcing the midfield to keep England from developing their game.
James Rodriguez Hurt
The main issue now for the South Americans is the injury to Bayern Munich star James Rodríguez.
Rodríguez and his lingering calf issues have limited him all tournament long as he did not make the starting lineup in his side’s opening game against Japan.
Colombia has not elaborated on the extent of Rodriguez’s injury. He left in the 31st minute of the 1-0 win against Senegal in their last group stage game and it seems he will not make the starting lineup against England on Tuesday.
That will be an unfortunate news for Colombia, above all because James showed what he is capable of doing together with Juan Fernando Quintero in the midfield.
Rodríguez and Quintero were the best players in the Cafateros’ 3-0 victory over Poland in their second group stage game. Moreover, both players dominated the ball, created chances for teammates and controlled the game even though they did not score.
Rodríguez is an important footballer for Colombia. He is a superb playmaker who has assisted twice in this World Cup.
Despite the expectation that Rodriguez won’t start, Colombia still has talented players who can make a noticeable impact in the attack.
Luis Muriel is one of them. The Sevilla striker played the last minutes in Colombia’s triumph over Senegal, but he needs more action to show up.
Rodríguez absence could be the perfect opportunity for Muriel to impress Pekerman and a hopeful nation.
Abel Aguilar and Mateus Uribe are other players who have helped the team coming from the bench, though, it appears to be the right time for them to bright in the midfield during Rodríguez’s heal.
The Projected Run
If Colombia beat England it will take place under the most harrowing of circumstances. They will certainly have to suffer to eliminate the young rising “Lions.”
Once Colombia wins (if they do it), the next step will be the Swiss or the Swedes. Let’s be honest, the South Americans will be favored against either of those sides. Nevertheless, clinching a berth in the semifinals won’t be easy.
We can’t predict the future, but if Colombia made the semifinals it will be an epic battle against (probably) Croatia. And then it will be their first-ever appearance in the World Cup final four.
Colombia will face off England on July 3 at Otkritie Arena, Moscow, at 2:00 pm EST.