Wednesday 17th June – 21:00 BST – Olympic Stadium
England can win Group F at the Women’s World Cup if they beat Colombia at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening. Despite losing to France in their opening game, Mark Sampson’s side came back to win 2-1 against Mexico with goals from Fran Kirby and Karen Carney. A few hours earlier, Colombia, who came runners-up at last year’s Copa America, produced the shock result of the tournament so far, beating France 2-0, meaning they currently lead the group following a draw to Mexico in the first game. They were a side some predicted to get no points in Canada, but are now on the brink of making the knock-out stages of a World Cup for the first time in their history. England will have other ideas, and showed that they can attack with real purpose and intent against Mexico. If they can be more clinical, the Lionesses will crush Colombia’s dreams and boost their own as the Round of 16 awaits. BBC Three are showing the game live from 8:30pm, with kick-off half an hour later.
England Team News
- Mark Sampson has said the England medical team are being “overworked”, due to the little recovery times between games played on hard artificial pitches.
- Striker Jodie Taylor and midfielder Jordan Nobbs could both feature for the first time in the tournament, with the latter overcoming hamstring problems.
- If both start, it could mean that Eni Aluko and Jade Moore drop to the bench, with Fran Kirby keeping her place after scoring against Mexico.
The Key Battle: Karen Carney vs Yoreli Rincon
After coming off the bench to score what proved to be the winner against Mexico, Karen Carney may have forced herself into Mark Sampson’s starting 11 for Wednesday evening.
England were lacking creativity before the 27 year old came on, but Carney energised the midfield to get the Lionesses over the line. She doesn’t wear the number 10 shirt for nothing, and also has a vast amount of experience with 23 goals in 103 caps.
Yoreli Rincon is also no stranger to the international stage, having made 45 appearances for Colombia, scoring nine goals, despite the fact she is only 21. Even at that age she is still one of her side’s best players, and is tipped to be the next Marta. That’s some name to live up to.
Her importance to Fabian Taborda’s side has been proved, as she was controversially dropped at the 2012 Olympics after the coach criticised her fitness, and Colombia went on to lose all three of their group games. Then with the 21-year-old firmly reinstated, they finished second in the 2014 Copa America, and Rincon was their top scorer.
Last Meeting: N/A – This is the first time England and Colombia have met
The Colombia Lowdown
- Manager: Fabian Taborda
- Captain: Natalia Gaitan
- World Ranking: 28th
- Best World Cup Performance: Group Stage (2011)
Star Player – Lady Andrade
Before Saturday, forward Lady Andrade was globally notable for two things: having an memorable name and punching Abby Wambach in the face at the Olympics. After her performance against France in Colombia’s shock 2-0, a few more people might know her for being excellent at football. The 23 year old caught the eye with a silky skills and scored the first goal of the game, slotting past the goalkeeper in the 20th minute to stun the rest of the tournament. It was her eighth goal for her country in 43 caps and if she brings even more trickery to the Montreal she could cause England some problems.
The element of surprise really caught out the French, who thought that beating Colombia would be breeze after seeing them struggle to a draw with Mexico. Although England should now be aware of the dangers, Fabian Taborda’s side can still punish them. We saw the Lionesses get complacent at 2-0 up against Mexico, but they can’t afford to do the same, as Colombia are more likely to may them pay with more clinical finishing. There’s also plenty of players who can score in the squad – their 12 Copa America goals last year were shared between eight players.
Until victory against France, Colombia had not won a game at a World Cup, after going winless in 2011, as well as at the Olympics the following year. They may have reached the Copa America final last year, but in 12 matches against continental rivals Brazil and Argentina, they have only won once. This shows that they tend to come up short against the big guns, so was beating France a fluke? They will be keen to prove not.
My Prediction: England 2-1 Colombia
Any England side never does it the easy way, and I think that the Lionesses may have to come from behind as Colombia threat to cause another shock with a goal from Yoreli Rincon. But goals from Fran Kirby and Toni Duggan should turn it around to see Mark Sampson’s side into the knock-out stage as group winners. Another entertaining encounter is undoubtedly in store, and nerves will be at an all-time high if a Colombia opener does go in.