By Steve Dellar   |  07-03-2018   World Cup
Photo credit: The Goldwater

In the last game of the round of 16 tonight, England is matched up against Colombia.

In the days leading up to the match, many in the British press were at first happy that England manager Gareth Southgate seemed to have understood the importance of becoming second in their group, which is what they did when they lost their last game to Belgium 1-0.

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At the time, proponents of the loss claimed that such a move guaranteed an easier way to the semi-final as one would thus avoid a quarter-final against Brazil (or Mexico, which has since been eliminated).

However, it did mean a more difficult round of 16 games against Colombia (instead of having to play against Japan, which has, similarly, since been eliminated).

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Colombia vs England is a battle of star power and potential!<br><br>Take a look at how Clarence Seedorf sees this big matchup. <a href="https://t.co/BNCGvqLNxM">pic.twitter.com/BNCGvqLNxM</a></p>&mdash; FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) <a href="https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer/status/1013953780683976704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 3, 2018</a></blockquote>

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However, as manager Gareth Southgate rightly pointed out, no permutation is a guarantee in this World cup where Spain was knocked out by Russia and, more importantly, given that England has not won a knockout game for 12 years, any plotting of a course to the semi-final seemed a bit preliminary.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">At last. It&#39;s our turn.<br><br>🆚 Colombia<br>🏆 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WorldCup</a> Round of 16<br>⏰ 7pm BST<br>🏟 Spartak Stadium, Moscow<br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/ITV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ITV</a> <br>#️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COLENG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COLENG</a><a href="https://t.co/M10pnXyyEQ">pic.twitter.com/M10pnXyyEQ</a></p>&mdash; England (@England) <a href="https://twitter.com/England/status/1014026703348236288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 3, 2018</a></blockquote>

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England, who looked superb in their two opening games easily beating Tunisia and Panama, now realize that those teams were sub-standard opposition to say the least, after having seen how hard Belgium struggled to fend off Japan yesterday.

Related coverage: https://thegoldwater.com/news/29937-World-Cup-FIFA-Warns-England-And-Belgium-Not-To-Play-To-Lose-Tonight

Although the team brought a world-class striker with captain Harry Kane and a young squad that will keep on running, they have not met a proven opposition side to test them so far.

Colombia, with James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and of course winger Juan Cuadrado, looks like a South American team in good shape, having topped their group and many therefore believe this match to be the very first test for Gareth Southgate’s team.

Related coverage: https://thegoldwater.com/news/29852-World-Cup-England-Looks-On-Gleefully-As-Majors-Meet-Each-Other-In-Knock-Out-Games-Video

England fans will fancy going through and accept defeat if they must, as long as that doesn’t come in the form of what every British soccer fan dreads the most at world cups: penalties.

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Anonymous No. 30318 1530641109

Come on England !!!!!

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