World Cup: Senegal, Colombia eye knockout berth in crunch game (Preview)

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Samara (Russia), June 27 (IANS) After throwing away their lead twice in the last game, Senegal will now have their task cut out when they take on Colombia in a decisive Group H clash here on Thursday.

The west Africans could have ensured their passage to the round of 16 in Sunday’s second group match against Japan but after playing out a 2-2 draw, they need now a draw to advance but if Colombia win, they will advance at Senegal’s expense if Japan avoid defeat against Poland in Volgograd at the same time.

A draw would also do for Colombia but only if Japan lose.

Japan and Senegal lead the group on four points while Colombia are one behind after their resounding 3-0 win over Poland in Kazan on Sunday.

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Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez sounded confident on Wednesday.

“Starting with a loss (to Japan 2-1) in a tournament as short as the World Cup could have been difficult to reverse, but we did well, we won (against Poland 3-0) and we took that victory with great enthusiasm, but also with a head full of knowledge that we’re still processing,” Sanchez was quoted as saying by Efe news agency.

“At the World Cup level, nobody is going to give you anything, especially at a time when football has evolved so much,” the Tottenham defender added.

“However, we think of ourselves,” he stressed. “Colombia will always be more important than the opponent in front of us.”

The defender, who was one of the outstanding players in Sunday’s win against Poland, warned of the danger posed by the Senegalese squad, particularly Liverpool star Sadio Mane.

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Sanchez asserted that his side will focus on their rival’s entire team, not just one player, although he said Mane “is a great player, (who) has had a good season in the Premier League.”

–IANS

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