By Charles Jay
Group H of the World Cup finals tournament was evenly matched enough that, realistically, any of the four teams involved could have advanced out of it into the knockout phase. And we are already seeing that manifest itself here. The two teams considered favorites in this group had a hard time with their opening round game and face off on Sunday with a very strong possibility that the losing side is going to be effectively eliminated from moving out of the group. In the match between Colombia and Poland, we have a confrontation between two of the more prolific goal-scorers in the world, not to mention a virtual do-or-die situation, as play begins at approximately 2 PM ET in Kazan (Russia).
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Answers are needed on both sides. Colombia barely got out of the gate in its opener, losing midfielder Carlos Sanchez to a red card just three minutes into the game with Japan, which converted a penalty kick from that infraction and had Los Cafeteros on the ropes immediately. And they had to play one man short for 87 minutes. For quite a while it was almost like being two men short, as James Rodriguez was suffering from a calf injury and was held out of the starting lineup. He finally got into the action as a substitute, and thus far all systems seem to be “go” as far as him being out there on the pitch when this one gets underway.
In the World Cup betting odds at BetAnySports, Colombia is the favorite:
Colombia -1/2 Goal +117
Poland +1/2 Goal -132
Under 2.5 Goals -140
Over 2.5 Goals +125
There are a number of respected players on the Colombian squad, and that includes team leader Radamel Falcao, but no one garners the attention of Rodriguez, who scored more goals than anyone in the World Cup four years ago and thus won the “Golden Boot” in the process of leading his team to the quarter-finals. Coach Jose Pekerman says that he has looked good in practice sessions and sees no reason why he can’t start the game.
Keep in mind that Sanchez will not be able to see action because of the one-game suspension that came along with his red card, but Pekerman is hoping that the re-insertion of Rodriguez along with the ability to field a full eleven-man side instead of just ten, which they had to endure against Japan, will be a boon. Colombia was the team expected to win Group H, but if they go to 0-2 within this group they would probably need some kind of miracle to reach the Round of 16.
Poland’s situation is that they would really like to get Robert Lewandowski untracked. He is also an explosive goal-getter, and you can imagine how dangerous he and Rodriguez are as they are teamed up with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. The problem for the Polish team is that they don’t have a lot of scoring depth beyond their big star. And they are missing a key defender. Kamil Glik is still out with a shoulder injury, and that means they are thin i nan area where they were weak already. Colombia has enough class to get by this test, and stay alive for a spot in the Round of 16, so we are moving with them.
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(The preceding information has been furnished for news matter only)