Thursday, November 15, 2018

Prediction: Poland vs Colombia

Verdict: Colombia to win – yes

Best Odds: 59/50

Bookmaker: 888sport

There is no tomorrow for either Colombia or Poland. After both teams lost their respective tournament opening matches against Senegal and Japan, both need the three points in order to continue their dreams of reaching the Round of 16 alive. Without a doubt, the stakes couldn’t be higher heading into this game. Kick-off is scheduled at 19:00 hrs (BST) at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia.

Poland

Poland lost 2-1 against Senegal in their tournament opener, although it was a very unfortunate match for the European side. They lost due to an own goal from Thiago Cionek and a huge mistake from Grzegorz Krychowiak – although it was a controversial goal overall due to M’Baye Niang’s position on the play – forced them to settle for a big defeat that no one really expected. That was quite shocking considering that Poland were one of the strongest teams in the Group, at least on paper. Some of their best players need to step up in this game, though. Names such as Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Piotr Zielinski and Jakub Błaszczykowski must perform better if Poland want to have a chance against a Colombian side that could end up being an even tougher team than Senegal based on their talent, pace, and overall experience. Without a doubt, Poland must improve before it’s too late.

Team News

There could be a few changes on the Polish side ahead of this game. Recent reports have indicated that names such as Kuba, Grosicki and Lukasz Piszczek might begin the game on the bench.

Star centre-back Kamil Glik is likely to start after missing the tournament opener, and that would push Thiago Cionek back to the bench.

Colombia

Similar to Poland, Colombia couldn’t have imagined a more unfortunate debut, as they were down to 10 men and losing 1-0 just seven minutes into the game. Eventually the team kept fighting and made 1-1, but failed to hold on and ended losing 2-1 against a well-organised Japan side. That defeat wasn’t on anyone’s plans, however, as Colombia were far and away the “favourite” in a tightly-contested Group H before the World Cup started. This basically means that Los Cafeteros have no other real alternative that to win both games if they want to reach the Round of 16. Any other result – either here or against Senegal – would complicate them considerably. Colombia will need to tighten things up at the back in this one, as they allowed far too many space to Japan upfront, and they can’t do that if they are going to face an attacking line led by Lewandowski. Will they be up to the challenge, or will they struggle for the second consecutive win?

Team News

Manager Jose Pekerman won’t have Carlos Sanchez, as the defensive midfielder was sent off in the last game vs Japan. Either Wilmer Barri0s or Abel Aguilar wil replace him.

The rest of the side should be available. James Rodriguez is expected to play even if he is not 100% fit.

Key Factors to Consider

  • The last four games involving Poland have seen over 2.5 goals scored in total.
  • Colombia have qualified for the knockout stages in two of their five World Cup appearances. Meanwhile, Poland have not come out of the Group Stage in their last two appearances.
  • Poland have a W2, D1, L2 in their last five games across all competitions. Colombia register just one loss (W2, D2, L1) over that same span.
  • These two sides have met just once in the past. It happened in 2006, and Colombia won that game 2-1.
  • The last three Colombian games with at least one goal scored have seen over 2,5 in total.

Conclusion

This will be a very open game that might be decided by small details. Although experience could also play a part here.

In that regard, Colombia have a bit of an edge, and more players who can turn a game upside down such as James or Radamel Falcao. It will be tight, but I expect Colombia to win while eliminating Poland in the process.

Verdict: Colombia to win – yes

Best Odds: 59/50

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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