England take on Colombia in their World Cup last-16 tie on Tuesday night, and their opponents could be facing a real injury setback for the encounter.
The Three Lions finished second in their group behind Belgium, while Jose Pekerman’s side bounced back from their opening loss to Japan with wins over Poland and Senegal to advance as group winners.
In turn, that sets up an intriguing battle between the two sides in the last 16, although Colombia are potentially going to be missing a key cog in their line-up.
As noted by Sky Sports, Bayern Munich playmaker James Rodriguez sat out of training on Saturday, suggesting that he is a serious doubt to feature against England next week.
The 26-year-old was forced off in the first half against Senegal, as he hit the ground in frustration before making his way straight down the tunnel in a hint that he has perhaps aggravated the calf injury that has been troubling him in recent weeks.
In turn, it remains to be seen whether or not he can recover sufficiently to play some part against England, and as important as he is to the side for Pekerman, he’ll surely not want to risk him and put him in his starting line-up only to have to replace him if he suffers another setback.
As noted in the tweet below from Squawka though, Rodriguez has been involved in 10 of Colombia’s last 14 goals at the World Cup, and so that reiterates just how crucial he is to them.
Nevertheless, with Falcao up front, Juan Cuadrado on the right wing and Juan Quintero impressing through the middle, England and Gareth Southgate will still have to be wary of their rivals regardless of whether or not Rodriguez plays.
6 goals ?
4 assists ??
Now he’s been forced off after 30 minutes in a crucial group decider. pic.twitter.com/mOK9yVnWdV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 28, 2018