Talking Points: Is James Rodriguez the key to Colombia's success?
Written by: Abhranil Roy
The South Americans put up a convincing display to rout the Poles.
The World Cup continues to enthral and excite us and the critical Group H match between Poland and Colombia was no different. The game, which was played at the Kazan Arena, pitted two teams who had both lost the first round of games to less-fancied opposition. It was a must-win game for both sides, as they looked to get their respective campaigns back on track.
The game started brightly, but stayed goalless till the 40th minute. That was when the breakthrough came thanks to a Yerry Mina header. After the break, beautifully taken shots from Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado ensured that the South Americans would win the game 3-0.
Here are the talking points from the clash.
5. Falcao outclassed Lewandowski
The match was billed as a war between two of Europe’s finest strikers in the last few years. However, it was Falcao who walked away with all the plaudits, while Robert Lewandowski was subjected to ridicule. The Colombian may have lost a few yards following his knee injuries which incidentally, had kept him out of the last World Cup.
However, he has not lost his skill or his temperament and both of them were on show during the 90 minutes, as he not only kept the ball well, but also brought others into play and kept dropping deep to support his midfield. Never taking a touch too many, the former Manchester United man helped his side double their lead after halftime and also remains him his country’s highest ever goalscorer.
4. James Rodriguez is a special player
James Rodriguez was the breakout star of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and he was instrumental in leading Colombia to the quarterfinals in that edition. He was sensational against Poland as well, linking flawlessly with Falcao and Cuadrado and setting up the third goal with a scintillating pass.
Blessed with outrageous technical ability and vision, the 26-year-old had an outstanding season with Bayern Munich and he put all his tricks and skills on show in this vital game to rack up a memorable victory for his nation.
3. Quintero should be on European clubs' radar
In a game where all of the big names stepped up for Colombia, little known attacking midfielder Juan Quintero was the pick of the lot. The 25-year old was critical in the attacking half and repeatedly picked out Falcao and Cuadrado with some incredible reverse balls.
His contract at River Plate ends next season and it is likely that he will be getting a lot of offers from some big European clubs if he continues to perform like this.
2. None of the big names turned up for Poland
The Polish have some well-known names in their ranks, but all of them failed to turn up in a game they needed to win.
With Jakub Blaszczykowski missing out due to injury, it was up to the likes of Krychowiak, Piszczek and Zielinski to deliver service to Lewandoski but they were hurried and hassled of the ball whenever in possession. It was disappointing to see such a gutless performance from such a highly-rated European team.
1. The Colombian defence needs work
The combination of Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina in the Colombian central defence might have managed to keep a clean-sheet, but they looked shaky on multiple occasions.
Poland barely managed to stitch together three passes in the box, but against a better quality opposition, the defence could be a real cause of headache for Jose Pekerman and his coaching staff.
Published: Mon Jun 25, 2018 06:39 PM IST