Colombia is England’s first real World Cup test

England suffered a sweet defeat on Thursday when they fell 1-0 to Belgium to book the runners-up finish and go into the much easier route through the competition.

Truth be told, Colombia are by all means a tougher opposition that Japan for the last 16 round, but should Southgate’s troops eliminate Los Cafeteros, they will be up against either Sweden or Switzerland on the way to the semi-final.

England have a positive head to head record with Colombia. This will be their fourth head to head encounter and the South American outfit are yet to clinch their first victory.

The Three Lions won two and drew one so far, winning also the lone previous H2H affair at World Cups, back in 1998 when Anderton and Beckham bagged goals in a 2-0 victory in the group stage.

The two sides also met each other in a friendly in May 2005 when England picked up a 3-2 victory with a hat-trick from Michael Owen in New Jersey.

The Three Lions showed much more so far in the tournament, but it’s fair to say they’ve had easier rivals en route to securing the knockout stage appearance.

This will be their genuine test and should they pass it successfully, Gareth Southgate and his men have an open way to the semi-final with either Switzerland or Sweden waiting in the last eight.

A lot will certainly depend on whether James Rodriguez will recover for Los Cafetereos.

The Colombians generally struggled badly to create anything up front without James on the pitch.

Bayern’s star will reportedly start from the bench here which should be a major boost for England who are worth backing to qualify to the quarterfinal at the odds of 1.53.

In all, we expect a very tight affair to be decided by a single goal, meaning the alternative betting option would be Under 2.5 goals FT at the odds of 1.50.

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