Colombia hopes lift as Poland are sunk
COLOMBIA kept alive their hopes of making the last 16 and knocked Poland out of the World Cup with a terrific victory in Kazan.
The 2014 quarter-finalists had been in danger of elimination following an opening loss to Japan, but they produced a brilliant attacking display against the Poles as Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado all scored.
Senegal and Japan’s draw means the Colombians are still only third in Group H, but they know victory over the Senegalese on Thursday will seal their progress and set up a last-16 showdown with either England or Belgium.
Colombia’s surprise defeat to Japan had included a sendingoff inside three minutes for Carlos Sanchez, but there were few moments of note in the early exchanges here.
Slowly but surely Colombia began to get hold of the game and Cuadrado did brilliantly in slaloming past two Polish players to reach the byline before producing a shot that Wojciech Szczesny parried behind.
James Rodriguez collected the ball for the subsequent corner and tried to whip the crowd into a frenzy and, although that deadball situation came to nothing, another shortly after led to the opener five minutes before the break.
The attacking triumvirate of Rodriguez, Cuadrado and Juan Fernando Quintero were all involved from a short corner and the former was allowed space to deliver a perfect cross from the right that Mina just had to guide beyond the oncoming Szczesny with his head.
Poland’s hopes of getting back into the contest were dashed 20 minutes from time when Falcao, who was ruled out of the 2014 tournament through injury, scored his country’s second.
Cuadrado raced through and placed his effort beyond Szczesny for the third.