England's Harry Kane, left with England's Dele Alli, second left warm up prior to taking part in a training session for the England team at the 2018 soccer World Cup, in the Spartak Zelenogorsk ground, Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

England could end run of knockout futility against Colombia

July 01, 2018 - 6:49 am

MOSCOW (AP) — A mostly meaningless final group game could end up defining England's World Cup.

Coach Gareth Southgate rested most of his usual starters for the match against Belgium after both teams had already qualified for the round of 16. England lost 1-0, setting up a second-round game against Colombia. But England's path after that is potentially easier.

Southgate has told his team not to think beyond the Colombia clash, reminding players that England hasn't won a knockout game since beating Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup.

For Colombia, the focus is on James Rodriguez, who has swelling in his right calf. Coach Jose Pekerman has said he is "very concerned."

If Colombia has to play without Rodriguez, that would mean an extra burden on players like winger Juan Cuadrado and midfielder Juan Quintero.


James Ellingworth is at https://twitter.com/jellingworth


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