Poland's World Cup will end after the group stage, as two losses means it has no hope of advancing. It's a disappointing end for a squad led by one of the world's most potent strikers in Robert Lewandowski, but he was unable to sufficiently lift Poland ...
Here’s how Colombia defeated Poland:
Full Time: Colombia Bounces Back to Eliminate Poland
That’s it! Poland is eliminated from advancing, and Colombia gets back on track with an impressive offensive show.
88’: Late Chance for Poland
Lewandowski hasn’t totally given up, at least. He forces Ospina into another impressive save with a well-struck shot from about 25 yards out. It looked like it was bound to sneak in just under the crossbar, but Ospina nudges it over.
85’: Almost Another One for Colombia
Poland has to clear a ball off the line to avoid giving up a fourth, as Mateus Uribe tries to back-heel the ball from close range, but doesn’t get enough on it.
82’: Poland Chance (For What It’s Worth)
Poland gets a chance for what would likely be a consolation goal, but Ospina makes his second save on a close-range shot. Now Ospina is limping around a bit with some apparent pain in his right foot.
78’: Colombia in Cruise Control
Colombia just needs to avoid catastrophe in the last 15 minutes or so. Falcao is subbed off for the 31-year-old Carlos Bacca.
76’: Another GOAL!!! Colombia Up 3-0
Three for Colombia! Cuadrado breaks out behind the Poland defense and slots it home.
James Rodriguez fired a gorgeous pass from near the left sideline to put Cuadrado in on goal, and Poland’s defense had no chance of catching him. He collected the ball about 50 yards out, then coolly put it inside the right post. No chance for Wojciech Szczesny again.
75’: Big Moment for Falcao
Falcao is Colombia’s all-time leading goalscorer, but that was his first goal at a World Cup. He was injured during the 2014 edition in Brazil, and Colombia didn’t qualify in 2010.
70’: Goal Colombia!
Just as Poland looked like they were ready to put the pressure on Colombia, Falcao gets behind the Polish back line, stays onside, and slots it home off a pass from Quintero! It was a nifty little finish, as he places it inside the far post with the outside of his boot, beating Szczesny as he came out to try to close him down.
66’: Poland Chance
Poland makes a rare foray into the Colombian end, and Lukasz Piszczek’s long throw-in reaches Lewandowski, but some group defending gets in the way of his header, and Cuadrado clears.
61’ Yellow for Poland
Bednarek gets a yellow card, the first of the match, for a foul to snuff out a Colombian counterattack.
59’: Poland Nearly Equalizes!
Lewandowski brings down a long ball in the area with a wonderful first touch, but Ospina comes out and makes a great stop with his body on Lewandowski’s shot. That was easily Poland’s best opportunity of the game, and Ospina’s first save of the night.
57’: More Chances for Colombia
Juan Quintero gets a look from the top of the penalty area after a Colombian break, but Jan Bednarek gets a leg on it and it goes wide. Colombia can’t do anything with the ensuing corner. Still a lot of one-way soccer here.
54’: Colombia Attack Continues
Colombia isn’t letting up. Cuadrado is giving Poland fits on the right wing, and he creates another opportunity with a cross on the ground that is ultimately cleared. But Poland will have to shore up that side if it wants to have any opportunity of asserting itself here.
52’: Great Chance for Colombia
Falcao had a great opportunity to put Colombia up 2-0, as Cuadrado fed him a ball at the top of the area for a wide-open shot, but Falcao sends it about five yards too high.
49’: Chance for Poland
Bartosz Bereszynski gets an early opportunity for Poland, as Johan Mojica falls down and exposes some space on the right side, but Bereszynski’s cross isn’t on target and Colombia clears.
46’: Clock Is Ticking Against Poland
The second half is underway, and Poland has 45 minutes to climb back into this and keep its World Cup alive.
Halftime: Nevermind the Stats, Colombia Outplaying Poland
The stats show that Colombia had only a moderate advantage in possession, with 57 percent in the first half, and just a 3-2 edge in shots, but Poland was thoroughly outplayed. Some desperate defending was the only thing keeping Colombia from putting in two or three more goals, and they likely won’t be comfortable with just a one-goal lead in such a crucial game.
Colombia’s Yerry Mina scored the first goal of Sunday’s match against Poland. Credit John Sibley/ReutersThe very Colombia-friendly crowd in Kazan got exactly what it was hoping for with Yerry Mina’s goal in the 40th minute. It was a deserved goal, as Colombia controlled nearly the entire first half. Poland struggled to put together much of a sustained offensive push, but they’ll have to push forward in the second half and find some opportunities for Robert Lewandowski or they’ll be headed home after the group stage.
43’: Poland Now in Desperation Mode
Poland immediately makes a push into the Colombian half after the goal, as they know that they can’t advance unless they get a goal in the next 50 minutes or so. Colombia will look to settle the game down a bit, but Poland will have to find some answers in its attack.
40’: GOAL COLOMBIA!
They take a short corner kick, and Yerry Mina finishes a cross from James Rodriguez for Colombia’s first goal. Colombia sent the ball out to Juan Quintero near the top of the area, then he played a smart ball through to James on the right side. His chip was perfectly placed for Mina, who thudded the header home from about 5 yards out.
37’: Poland’s Defense Holding Firm
Cuadrado dances through the right side of the Polish defense and gets within a few yards of the goal on the end line, but his pass in his blocked out of bounds by Wojciech Szczesny, the goalkeeper. James Rodriguez tries to pump up the crowd on the ensuing corner kick, as if they need any encouragement.
35’: Colombia Pressing
Juan Cuadrado takes a weak shot from about 35 yards out, trying to force something to break through in this must-win game.
31’: Early Sub for Colombia
Colombia is forced to make an early substitution as Abel Aguilar gets injured. Mateus Uribe, the 27 year old from Club America, comes on in his place in midfield.
30’: Crowd Getting Impatient?
The crowd noise is taking on a hint of angst as we hit the half-hour mark with no scoring yet. It’s been very physical so far, with a lot of hard tackles and collisions on 50-50 balls.
25’: Poland Escapes Danger Yet Again
Falcao runs onto a ball from James Rodriguez behind the Polish defense, but his backheeled pass went awry and Poland escapes another dangerous moment.
23’: Colombia Attack Continues
A great bit of Colombian passing leads to a dangerous cross on the ground from Santiago Arias on the right side, but the Polish defense again comes up with a clearance. Colombia’s managed a good stretch of sustained pressure, but not much in the way of opportunities on goal.
17’: Cuadrado Leading Charge for Colombia
A lot of Colombia’s attack thus far has gone through Juan Cuadrado, the Juventus midfielder playing on the right wing. He sends in another cross but Falcao can’t beat the Polish defense to it, and it’s cleared to safety.
Poland and Colombia in action during their World Cup match on Sunday. Credit Robert Ghement/EPA, via Shutterstock.15’: Colombian Fans in Full Force
The pace hasn’t really let up, as Colombia’s attack has found its footing as well. Also not letting up are the Colombian fans, who have been quite vocal through the first 15 minutes.
8’: Getting Physical
A minute later, it’s Yerry Mina on the ground in pain, as his hand gets stepped on by Lewandowski. Hard to tell if it was intentional, but it’s definitely already a physical match.
Mina, by the way, is in for Carlos Sanchez, the Colombian defender who got a red card in the third minute of the loss to Japan.
7’: Colombia’s Goalie in Pain
Ospina goes down and is apparently in a lot of pain. He got a foot tangled with Dawid Kownacki as he ran out to distribute the ball and went down hard. After a couple minutes of treatment, he’s staying on, but it’s something to watch for the rest of the match
5’: Lots of Action Early
As expected, it’s been a furious start at Kazan Arena, with Poland generating a couple early chances. Robert Lewandowski can’t quite get in position to make good contact on a cross, and the Colombian goalie, David Ospina, collects it.
1’: We’re Underway!
Colombia is in blue today, and Poland in white. With Japan and Senegal tying, either team would be eliminated with a loss today, and a tie would be a devastating result for both teams, so we can expect some wide open play.
Poland XI: Szczesny, Piszczek, Bednarek, Pazdan, Bereszynski, Krychowiak, Goralski, Rybus, Zielinski, Lewandowski, Kownacki
Colombia XI: Ospina, Arias, Davinson Sanchez, Mina, Mojica, Aguilar, Barrios, Cuadrado, Quintero, Rodriguez, Falcao
Colombia vs. Poland Top Story Lines
• Colombia is hoping for a big performance out of James Rodriguez, the Bayern Munich star who only played for 30 minutes in the loss against Japan on Tuesday because of a left calf injury.
• Poland also needs a strong game from its own Bayern Munich striker: Robert Lewandowski, who could not produce much in an opening-game loss to Senegal. He’s the top goalscorer in Poland’s history, and they can’t make it far without him playing well.
The video-assistant-referee system has led to a higher percentage of penalty-kick goals than in each previous tournament.
Some Pregame Reading
• Aliou Cissé was once a World Cup player for Senegal. Now he is one of two native African coaches in the World Cup, and he has Senegal off to a fine start. Read Christopher Clarey’s piece here.
• Meet Iceland’s “Ruligans” — the polite-but-passionate fan group that has grown from a few outliers in plastic Viking helmets into a singing, thunder-clapping force.
World Cup 2018 (Soccer)