England will try and overcome the weight of history when they face Colombia in the last 16 of the World Cup in Moscow on Tuesday.
The Colombians will attempt to repeat their feats of four years ago by securing a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament for the second time in a row.
England changed nine of their outfield players as they lost to Belgium in their last group game. Coach Gareth Southgate will soon find out if that was the right policy as he looks to lead England to their first win in the knockout stage of a major tournament since they defeated Ecuador at the same stage in 2006.
Southgate has his entire squad available except for Fabian Delph, who flew back to the UK on Friday for the birth of his third child. Dele Ali is expected to replace Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the midfield after a calf strain saw him sidelined against Panama and Belgium.
John Stones should have no problems playing in defense after he was seen with an ice-bag on his calf after being substituted at half time against Belgium, but Southgate said that had always been his intention. Harry Kane will be England’s main danger man as the leader of the race for the 2018 Golden Boot looks to add to the five goals he scored in the first two matches.
England have shown themselves to be a huge threat from set pieces with six of the eight goals they have scored in Russia coming from dead-ball situations. Colombia will look to their big central defender Yerry Mina to counteract that threat. The Barcelona stopper has scored two goals himself from set-pieces taken by Juan Quintero, who along with Juan Cuadrado, could find himself tasked with providing Colombia’s creative play if James Rodriguez is unfit.
James has been struggling with a muscle problem throughout the competition and had to be replaced after just 30 minutes in Colombia’s last game against Senegal. His loss would be a major blow for the South Americans. Hopes are high among the English and even more so with a possible quarter-final against Sweden or Switzerland, but to reach the quarters they need first to get past Colombia and 12 years of disappointment.