James Rodriguez’s Creativity Eliminates Robert Lewandowski’s Poland

TOPSHOT - Colombia's forward Falcao celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group H football match between Poland and Colombia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 24, 2018. (Photo by Roman Kruchinin / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS (Photo credit should read ROMAN KRUCHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Colombia Eliminate Poland

Colombia produced a wonderful performance to defeat Poland 3-0 in Group H. Colombia’s stars James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, and Juan Cuadrado all turned up. Poland’s Robert Lewandowski looked isolated when the European side tried to attack.

Growing into the Match

In the early stages of the match, Poland and Colombia both enjoyed spells of possession without truly creating any clear opportunities. Poland played a few long balls over the Colombian midfield in search of their star striker Robert Lewandowski. On the other hand, Colombia showcased some fluid passing between James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, and Juan Cuadrado down Poland’s left side.

Colombia pushed on in the 36th minute with a beautiful passage of play starting with goalkeeper David Ospina and ending with Juan Cuadrado dancing his way to Poland’s left goal post. Somehow, Poland repelled the ball for a corner kick. James Rodriguez requested more noise from an already passionate Colombian crowd as the South American side turned up the pressure. Colombian fans received their reward in the 40th minute after James Rodriguez clipped a stunning ball into the opposition box so that Yerry Mina could direct a bullet header past Wojciech Szczęsny.

Based on the first 45 minutes, Colombia fully deserved their lead. The players grew into the match, interchanged positions, stretched the Polish defence, and created a wonderful team goal. In contrast, Poland looked like individuals rather than a cohesive team. Robert Lewandowski saw little of the ball, and the midfielders seemed to lack any ideas of how to support him.

Turning on the Style

In the 51st minute, Juan Cuadrado found Radamel Falcao at the top of the opposition box, but the Monaco striker sent the ball into orbit. Colombia could have easily been up 2-0. However, the 70th minute saw Juan Quintero weight a perfect pass into the path of Radamel Falcao. This time, the striker kept his composure and slipped the ball past the goalkeeper with ease. The celebrations were reminiscent of the Colombia side that lit up the World Cup in 2014. During the celebrations, the players hugged each other like they were family members.

For Poland, the match went from poor to nightmarish. Five minutes later, James Rodriguez played, arguably, the pass of the tournament so far. He bent the ball around three Polish defenders into the path of Juan Cuadrado, who sprinted into the box to side-foot the ball past Wojciech Szczęsny.

In Colombia’s first match, they had a player sent off against Japan. Therefore, it was difficult to judge their performance. In this match, Colombia truly arrived at the 2018 World Cup. This team is here to play in style. Poland are out of the tournament, but they will have gained significant experience at this level of the game.

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