Kane-led England favourites against Colombia



After England clinched a spot in the knockout round with a pair of wins in its first two games in Russian Federation, manager Gareth Southgate chose to rest eight players for the Three Lions' final group stage game against Belgium. They are expected to revert to the side that started against Tunisia in their first game.

"No. Obviously we are going to have to play the big teams sooner rather than later, and if you want to be the best team in the world, you've got to beat the big teams".

Kane leads the race for the Golden Boot but was kept in reserve by Gareth Southgate for a 1-0 defeat to Belgium that meant the Three Lions finished second in Group G, to keep him fresh for England's last-16 clash with Colombia.

Substitutes will be the key to winning this game and there is more quality coming from England's side of the dugout.

England's penalty record is "horrendous", says the BBC, but coach Southgate has made sure his players have been working on their technique from 12 yards. "So we still have one and a half days to see how he feels".

On paper, England's tilt with Colombia at Moscow's intimate Spartak Stadium is more or less a wash - England is 12th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings and Colombia is 16th, not that the rankings have meant much in an upset-heavy World Cup that's already seen Germany, Portugal, Argentina and Spain eliminated. In their last eight knockout games at World Cup, they have managed to win only two.

And when they finally took the field, England actually produced.

Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Kane.

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At full-time, Colombia had committed significantly more fouls - 21 to to England's 13 - while England marginally stayed on top of possession, 52% to 48%.

It's an issue Southgate will have to resolve fast, and he may have to turn to Ruben Loftus-Cheek to help out.

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg - who has been working with ITV during their coverage of the World Cup - believes the referee made the incorrect decision and that Barrios should have seen red.

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), and Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas).

Davinson Sanchez has played day-in, day-out against all of the players likely to be in the England starting eleven.

Harry Kane fired England ahead with his tournament-leading sixth goal just before the hour in Moscow, converting a penalty after he was hauled down by Carlos Sanchez at a corner.

If they make it past Sweden and into the semifinals, then assume Croatia will be England's most likely opposition.

"It's an exciting time to be an England fan".

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