Thursday, July 19, 2018
FeaturedSports Focus

Will set-pieces decide Colombia vs England?

2018 has seen a higher proportion of goals scored from set-pieces than any other World Cup finals in history, and Colombia and England have been two of the competition’s most effective sides at dead-ball situations.

Six of England’s group stage goals came from corners, free-kicks, penalties or throw-ins, making them the tournament leaders in this regard, with Gareth Southgate’s research into blocking techniques used in sports like basketball and American football paying dividends.

John Stones scored twice against Panama, ensuring he has more World Cup goals than Wayne Rooney could manage in three tournaments. Stones, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire attacking Kieran Trippier’s deliveries make England very dangerous at set-pieces.

But they should also be concerned about matters at the other end of the pitch. Only England and Uruguay scored more goals from dead-balls in the group stages than Colombia, with three of their five goals scored at free-kicks or corners.

Barcelona centre-back Yerry Mina is the main threat, having scored twice already in Russia, but there is also the significant issue of Radamel Falcao and Davinson Sanchez also attacking James Rodriguez’s crosses.

As with so many of this World Cup’s matches, Colombia versus England could come down to which side makes more of opportunities to get their big men forward and put in a dangerous ball into the box.

Today’s trivia

0: England have never lost to Colombia, winning three and drawing two of their five meetings

5: Harry Kane has scored five goals from five shots at the 2018 World Cup (excluding blocked shots)

1: Switzerland have lost only one of their last 25 games, winning 17 and drawing seven

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