Monday 23 July 2018

Who’s next? A look at England’s potential second-round opponents

Gareth Southgate’s side will face Japan, Senegal or Colombia in the first knockout stage.

England are waiting to discover who they will play in the last 16 of the World Cup (Owen Humphreys/PA)
England are waiting to discover who they will play in the last 16 of the World Cup (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

England are through to the last 16 of the World Cup but will only discover their opponents after the final round of group fixtures.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the sides they could face.

Japan

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Shinji Kagawa has impressed in Japan’s midfield (AP)

Form: The surprise leaders of Group H after two matches following an impressive defeat of 10-man Colombia and entertaining draw with Senegal.

Style: A fluid and counter-attacking side, with Shinji Kagawa and Makoto Hasebe moving the ball in midfield and looking to feed wingers Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui. Impressive going forward but a weak defence can be left exposed.

Look out for: Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Inui, Shinji Okazaki

Verdict: One to face

Senegal

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Sadio Mane is key for Senegal (Adam Davy/Empics)

Form: Saw off Poland in their opener and then drew 2-2 in an entertaining clash with Japan.

Style: Another attractive side based on pace and power but with a bit of steel in midfield. Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is their chief threat up front but 19-year-old right-back Moussa Wague looks a handful out wide, charging forward and delivering dangerous crosses.

Look out for: Sadio Mane, M’Baye Niang, Moussa Wague

Verdict: One to face

Colombia

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Radamel Falcao was on target as Colombia returned to form with an impressive defeat of Poland (AP)

Form: Bounced back after their unexpected defeat by Japan with a convincing 3-0 rout of Poland.

Style: A top-heavy attacking side that exploits its strengths with quick and incisive link-up play. The forwards in their 4-2-3-1 line-up, including 2014 tournament star James Rodriguez, boast individual quality to rival the best teams in the competition.

Look out for: Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Quintero

Verdict: One to avoid

Press Association

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