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A Dream Victory for Colombia’s FIFA World Cup 2018 Campaign!

A Dream Victory for Colombia’s FIFA World Cup 2018 Campaign!

Senegal 0-1 Colombia

Before we get to the meat of this piece, I would have to cede one thing: the group stages of the FIFA World Cup 2018 has been one of the most entertaining in recent memory. Sure, the results may have gotten all of your predictions jumbled into unexpected places, but there’s nothing better for us than an unpredictable World Cup, right?

This was exactly what happened when Colombia pulled a fast one against Senegal and run off to the knockout stages of the tournament with a fantastic victory. It was a meaningful goal that the Colombian delegation at the Samara Arena badly needed.

Colombian star James Rodriguez was forced to walk off the pitch, but the rest of La Tricolor did the work for him and assured him of more chances to play in the World Cup.

While they must look ahead to facing either England or Belgium, it would do well for Carlos Valderrama and the rest of Colombians in Russia to celebrate getting out of a tricky ditch at the expense of the brilliant Lions of Teranga.

Highlights of the game

Not much happened during the first ten minutes of the game as both nations were trying to get their feet wet and find their own rhythms. Aliou Cisse‘s Senegal went with a 4-4-2 and relied on their outstanding wing play to get them into the penalty box and score some goals.

Meanwhile, Jose Pekerman went with a centre-heavy 4-2-3-1 formation that lets Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado either run through the wings or into the middle and thread a pass into a waiting Radamel Falcao.

Their concerted efforts up front resulted in action during the 11th-minute mark. Falcao found himself trying to catch a ball in the middle of the Senegalese back line. Kalidou Koulibaly roughhoused the Monaco attacker and barely got away from a booking. The subsequent free kick didn’t result in anything.

Colombia had a mini-scare when Sadio Mane dropped inside the Colombian penalty box during the 17th minute. Referee Milorad Mazic immediately awarded a penalty for Senegal. However, VAR revealed that the contact between Mane and Davinson Sanchez weren’t enough to warrant a spot kick. The Serbian referee quickly reversed his decision, and a sigh of relief was heard throughout the Colombian ranks.

The next significant bit of action happened on the half-hour mark. Pekerman most likely knew that his ace was struggling with a knock that he had before the game. He immediately called for an early substitution when he saw the Bayern Munich man, the former star that lit up Brazil, unable to properly play the Beautiful Game.

The second half saw more of the same action as Senegal could not capitalise on their wing play. They constantly find themselves dispossessed, and Los Cafeteros were quick to grab any second balls.

M’Baye Niang was ineffective for much of the match and got himself carded after a hard challenge on Yerry Mina in the 50th minute. Things continually got worse for the Terangan Lions as Colombians continued to pound the right wing with Cuadrado.

Senegal got a real chance to one-up Colombia in the 63rd minute when they got a free kick on a dangerous spot. Sadio Mane took the shot, but he lost balance and skied the attempt.

Colombia continued to overwhelm their opponents, attacking at every opportunity. Luis Muriel powered a speeding ball into the goal, but a Senegal shirt blocked the ball. Falcao, the big star during their win over Poland, headed a ball from another corner wide of the goal.

The winning goal came in late at the half. Barcelona man Mina took a ball from a 73rd-minute corner and headed it into the goal. The ball had enough power to escape Khadim N’Diaye’s palms and head to the net.

Senegal then threw everything they had in order to turn the tide and defy the FIFA World Cup 2018 odds stacked against them. However, Colombia held their ground and ended the game as grateful 1-0 winners.

The sight of Carlos Valderrama smiling and hugging his wife after Colombia’s win is the personification of an entire nation’s overall relief at their victory. Japan were especially thankful to Colombia as the win helped them qualify on the merits of their disciplinary record.

Key statistics

Colombia had a lot more time with the ball, taking 57% of the total 90 minutes. However, they took fewer shots than their opponent: the Lions of Teranga had double of Colombia’s four goal attempts. However, four of those shots were inaccurate.

This loss ends Senegal’s 2018 run, the second time they only made the World Cup. They had a fairly successful stint under Cisse, but their draw against Japan probably cost them their ticket to the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, this is Colombia’s third time making it out of the group stage in six appearances at the World Cup final. Their five goals in the group stages may not reach the 12 they got in 2014, but they are just probably happy that they are not on the negative end of FIFA World Cup 2018 news the same way Germany are.

What’s next?

Colombia will face either England or Belgium in a game that will be decided later in the day. The two top teams of Group H know that they will be in for a tough match no matter who they face, so La Tricolor have to be prepared for anything and just put their best foot forward.

Meanwhile, Senegal will be heading home after an admirable World Cup. The SBOBET football experts think that they should not keep their heads down: they played a good tournament and they deserved to be in the knockout stages as much as the other two that made it in.







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Christian Alamodin
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