Colombia vs England confirmed XIs: James Rodriguez fails late fitness test

Gareth Southgate England World Cup 2018

Colombia reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2014, losing 2-1 to hosts Brazil, and goalkeeper David Ospina believes the 2018 squad is better than the one from four years ago.

England took its foot off the accelerator after an initial two games that couldn't have gone better, resting Kane and seven other regulars in a group match against Belgium that only mattered for either side because it determined who they'd play next.

Though usually the best-case scenario is finishing first, the unpredictable nature of the first two rounds of the group stage has meant that numerous tournament's favourites have actually finished second in their group (or have been knocked out altogether).

In a tournament full of surprises, Gareth Southgate's young England team are the only former champions left in the lower half of the draw following the shock exit of Spain. Since that day in Stuttgart, 16 different countries have won World Cup knockout matches and England have won none.

The 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation is heating up nicely.

But Gareth Southgate will hope his side, which will be drastically changed from that Belgium defeat, can fire their way through to the quarter-finals with a win against the unsafe South Americans.

Dele Alli is fully fit and could return in midfield after missing the past two games, but Colombia star James Rodriguez remains a doubt. Colombia had the same record as England, but they were the only team to win two games in the group, in games against Poland and Senegal. "It's hard not to support him but, as players, there are no friendships on the pitch".

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Belgium won the battle and earned bragging rights in Group G. England finished runners-up and were subsequently matched against Colombia.

Finally, at 11.52pm local time, the last kick of an epic night, Eric Dier, England's fifth penalty-taker was running towards a scrum of his team-mates. The talk around this England campaign to this point is threatening to build up an unhealthy expectation to match that one.

It promises to be a fascinating encounter as Colombia & England face off for a place in the quarter finals.

"Just as Argentina stole a game from Brazil on Sunday in Turin, so England stole one from Belgium here Tuesday night", reported Grahame Jones in the Los Angeles Times after that game in Bologna.

"We are quite stable even when things turn hard".

Both Colombia and England are a threat from dead-ball situations.

England had opened the score early in the second half thanks to a penalty goal by captain Harry Kane.

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