Colom­bia hopes lift as Poland are sunk

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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