It’s a must-win for both teams in Group H as Colombia and Poland meet on the Sunday finale. After both teams suffered unexpected defeats in their openers, Sunday’s match could send the loser home early. Expect slight changes to lineups for both teams, including a possible start for James Rodriguez.
Colombia vs. Poland Squads
When looking ahead to this matchup, nobody expected both teams to bring zero points into the matchup. Poland fell 2-1 to Senegal in their opener, and Colombia were impaired by a Carlos Sanchez red card en route to a 2-1 loss to Japan. Now both teams are chasing points, with the loser today very likely missing out on the next round.
Over the last four World Cups, only four out of 46 teams that have lost their first game have reached the next stage of the tournament.
If these teams want to bounce back, they’ll need better play from their stars. Robert Lewandowski was quiet for Poland in their opener, though he did test the keeper in the second half he was unable to make an impact. Colombia’s James Rodriguez, on the other hand, raised eyebrows when he started the game on the bench. James came on in the second half, but trailing and shorthanded the match was all but over.
That red card, the second-fastest in World Cup history, has a carryover effect into Sunday. Carlos Sanchez is a defensive midfielder vital to Colombia’s tactics, and he’ll be forced to sit this match out.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the nations, who have not faced off since 2006. Colombia has a poor history against European clubs, only winning two of their last nine against teams from that continent. South American teams have struggled at the World Cup this year, with Brazil and Uruguay being the only teams to win games thus far. Colombia is looking to avoid the same fate as Argentina, who seem to be crumbling before our World Cup eyes.
Tactically, don’t expect many changes from these teams. Poland fell behind on an own goal and lost by one, so they’ll be thinking they had the quality to beat Senegal. And Colombia saw red so fast, we never really got to see them perform against Japan.
One change for Poland could be the addition of Kamil Glik to the lineup. The AS Monaco defender sat out the opener with a sprained shoulder. and brings sizze and experience to the middle.
With Japan and Senegal set to play before this match, both teams will know how important three points can be. If Senegal or Japan can come away with six points, there will be only one spot left in the next round for the two favorites.
Colombia vs. Poland Lineups
Lineups are released one hour before kickoff
Colombia: Ospina, Arias, D. Sanchez, Mina, Mojica, Aguilar, Barrios, Cuadrado, James, Quintero, Falcao
Poland: Szczesny, Pizsczek, Bednarek, Pazdan, Bereszynski, Goralski Krychowiak, Rybus, Zielinski, Kownacki, Lewandowski