Monday, 16 July, 2018

Gareth Southgate: Colombia clash is England's biggest in a decade

Russia map Where is Kaliningrad? Is it safe for England fans EPARussia map Women sit next to the Triumphal column at the Victory square in Kaliningrad Russia
Betsy Taylor | 30 June, 2018, 15:42

The Manchester City player was in action from the start in England's narrow loss to Belgium's Red Devils in Kaliningrad and left for England to be beside his partner Natalie Delph.

So, although England lost, they are now in arguably the easier half of the draw.

"The Belgian prime minister obviously felt he needed to get in quick from the first whistle", a senior United Kingdom government official said.

"It's one of the reasons why we've done what we did (against Belgium), to give ourselves the best possible opportunity of doing that. They pose you different technical and tactical challenges as we had (against Belgium)".

Southgate said he wanted to keep his starters - including Kane - fresh for the last-16 game against Colombia and free from injury. "He totally understood 100 per cent team first".

"I want to highlight that all my players played well and at a high level", Pekerman said.

"I don't think mentally we lose anything because they know we've made changes and they know Belgium weren't their full team as well".


Gareth Southgate granted Delph permission to leave the squad ahead of the tournament, though he is expected to return to Russian Federation on Sunday and be available for England's round of 16 match against Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday.

On the hand, Three Lions' star defender John Stones is not a doubt for England's fixture against Colombia on Tuesday, July 3.

"I've always said we've had a chance but at the moment I can't see past Brazil", he added.

Pekerman's side were largely second best for much of their match against Senegal and had to play 60 minutes without talisman James Rodriguez, who was substituted in the first half with an injury.

"Whoever we play we believe we're capable of beating", Southgate said.

"Don't give Colombia chances because they have players like Juan Cuadrado that can beat players one-on-one". First of all, Colombia will be really tough opponents, but they have a few things going for them.

They say while many town centre pubs have good security, some in residential areas can be overwhelmed on match nights when numbers grow.

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