'We don't fear England,' says Pekerman

Jose Pekerman insists Colombia are not afraid of England after the teams set up a last 16 showdown at the World Cup finals in Russia.


Colombia secured top spot in Group H after a 1-0 victory over Senegal on Thursday afternoon, and Pekerman and co then watched Belgium beat England by the same scoreline to consign Gareth Southgate's troops to the runners-up spot in Group G.

Colombia will take on England at 7pm next Tuesday and although Pekerman offered words of praise for their opponents, he sounded quietly confident of progressing to the quarter-finals.

"We know that any team that reaches the last 16 is good, we are talking about the best 16 teams in the world," said Pekerman.

"Obviously England can have a good day or a bad day. England is a young team, has a lot of harmony and you can tell they have a lot of faith in themselves.

"They have some excellent individual players, a lot of confidence and they managed to pass through the group stage quite comfortably."

Colombia may have to play without talisman James Rodrigues, who went off injured against Senegal. But with the likes of Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado, they remain dangerous opponents for England.

Pekerman went on to say: "I'm sure with different type of matches heading our way, these will be completely full-on, to the death matches. You need to win or you are out. These are extreme situations.

"I definitely think England have what it takes to do well, and it will be a match in which Colombia is going to be confident of playing at a high level and getting a good result."

Reflecting on the defeat to Belgium, in which England made wholesale changes to their starting XI, Southgate commented: "We want to win football matches so we're not happy to come away being beaten.

"We have seen the level everyone has been playing at and we need to keep improving.

"But the knockout game against Colombia is the biggest game for a decade, so we needed to make sure our key players were reserved."

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