WWC 2015 Round of 16: Colombia

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Colombia earnt one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history during the Group Stage but now line-up for their biggest test of all in the Round of 16.

Group performance

Colombia were perceived as the Group F also-rans along with Latin compatriots Mexico before the tournament got underway and when the shares were spoiled between the two sides in the opening game, progression from the group seemed highly unlikely.

But an astonishing 2-0 upset over France left the Colombians topping the group after two games. It was a completely deserved triumph for Felipe Taborda’s side, a performance built on collective discipline and hunger.

COLOMBIA TAKE ON USA IN THE ROUND OF 16. READ OUR USA PREVIEW HERE.

Colombia were largely outclassed by England in the final group fixture, but they qualified for the Round of 16 as one of the best third-ranked teams, impressing many with their flair and positive, attacking brand of football.

They’ll beat USA because…

We know that anything can happen in football. Indeed, Colombia have already pulled off a gigantic upset this tournament with a win over France: why can’t they make it two with an even bigger win over the USA?

They have the attacking components in Yoreli Rincon and Lady Andrade who can both hurt the US but expect to see them outnumbered on the rare occasions Colombia retain the ball. An early goal here might not rattle the USA like it did France so their best hope is to try and keep the game scoreless and grab a late winner.

Energy and concentration levels will be sure to slide as the game goes on as a result of the huge performance by Colombia thus far, but expect their desire and hunger to remain. It rarely wins games though you never know.

They’ll be knocked out by USA because…

There is a gap in quality, experience, energy levels and discipline between the two sides that point toward a comfortable USA win. The States are yet to fully hit their straps at the tournament and the Round of 16 is historically a burgeoning stage for teams in this position. Their superior physicality and pace should see that they have too much for the Colombians who will struggle to deal with the variety of attacking options at the USA’s disposal.

Can they win the World Cup?

Colombian football is clearly on an upward trajectory and, without sounding patronising, a knock out exit at the hands of one of the best sides in the world would represent progress. They’ve exceed expectations at this World Cup but it’s near impossible to see them going any further.

Best moment of the tournament so far

If Colombia are to be knocked out by the USA as expected they can at least hang their hats on what was arguably one of the biggest upsets in Women’s World Cup history. Their group stage giant-killing of France will leave a lasting legacy on the competition and if the Colombians are defeated by the USA they will take a landmark moment back with them.

Key player

Although the key to beating the USA is primarily down to keeping things tight at the back, Yoreli Rincon is the player who can damage them at the opposite end. She has the tendency to drift in and out of games but she is more than capable of producing a golden moment of quality for her team against any opposition.

Injuries / suspensions

Goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda is suspended after her second yellow of the tournament against England.

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