Colombia knock out Poland in a 3-0 wipe-out
Colombia 3 (Mina 40′, Falcao 70, Cuadrado 75′)
By Jacob Howard
Colombia has kept its final 16 hopes alive with a 3-0 victory in Kazan that has eliminated Poland from the World Cup.
Colombia is now in third place in Group H one point behind both Senegal and Japan, and the qualification hopes of all three teams will be decided on the final matchday.
Poland is the first European side to be eliminated from the competition and lies bottom of the group despite being the highest-ranked of all four teams.
Possession and control was evenly shared in the opening half-hour but a perfectly-worked move in the 40th minute swung the match in Colombia’s favour.
A short corner by James Rodriguez found Juan Quintero whose reverse pass back to Rodriguez gave the playmaker time to measure a cross for Yerry Mina to rise above the defenders to head home.
Much of Colombia’s attacking play was being led by Juan Cuadrado whose pace was causing Poland trouble down the right-hand flank.
As the second half wore on, Poland needed an equaliser to keep its World Cup alive and came close when a long ball found Robert Lewandowski through on-goal but David Ospina came off his line to smother the shot.
Falcao doubled Colombia’s lead and put the game out of Poland’s reach in the 70th minute when a pinpoint pass from Qunitero put the captain one-on-one with keeper Szczesny and he finished with the outside of his right foot into the bottom left corner.
Colombia’s main threat Cuadrado got a well-deserved goal after a pass from Rodriguez in behind the Polish backline enabled the striker to outpace the defence and bury the ball beyond Szczesny.
Colombia go on to play Senegal where both teams must win if they want to make the round-of-16.
Shot Attempts (On Target)
Colombia 13 (3)
Poland 9 (2)
Colombia: 1 Ospina (GK), 4 Arias, 5 Barrios, 8 Aguilar (32′), 9 Falcao (C 78′), 10 J. Rodriguez, 11 Ju Cuadrado, 13 Mina, 17 Mojica, 20 Quintero (73′), 23 D Sanchez
Substitutes: 2 Zapata, 3 O Murillo, 7 Bacca (78′), 12 C Vargas, 14 L Muriel, 15 M Uribe (32′), 16 J Lerma (73′), 18 Diaz, 19 M Borja, 21 Izquierdo, 22 J.F Cuadrado (GK), 6 C Sanchez
Poland: 1 Szczesny (GK), 2 Pazdan (80′), 5 Bernarek, 6 Goralski, 9 Lewandowski ©, 10 Krychowiak, 13 Rybus, 18 Bereszynski (72′), 19 Zielinski, 20 Piszcek, 23 Kownacki (57′)
substitutes: 3 Jedrzejczyk, 4 Cionek, 7 Milk, 8 Linetty, 11 Grosicki (57′), 12 Bialkowski, 14 Teodorczyk (72′), 15 Glik (80′), 16 Blaszczykowski, 17 Peszko, 21 Kurzama, 22 Fabianski (GK)