World Cup Preview: Poland v Colombia

Who? Poland - Colombia
Where? Kazan Arena, Kazan
When? June 24, 20:00 (CET local time)

Poland (Eden Roitfarb)

The final second round match-up for the group stages has all the characteristics to become a classic. Poland faces Colombia, and there is no result that would satisfy both. After both lost their opener, the pressure is high and only a win would be acceptable – its do or die. When you combine this fact with all the attacking talent that will be present in the Kazan Arena, and perhaps also the goalkeeping naivety, we can expect some goals.

After getting the edge over Łukasz Fabiański in goal vs Senegal, Wojciech Szczęsny produced a terrible blunder that looked more like his old Arsenal self, rather than his current status as the Juventus No. 1. While the first goal was cruel and unlucky for Poland, the second one had Polish fans embarrassed and disappointed. They have expected more from the team.

One of these fans is Wojciech’s father and a former national goalie himself, Maciej, who blasted the player's performance - including his own son and leader Robert Lewandowski. According to dad, the younger Szczęsny was moving “as if to a liquor store”, and that Lewa “was probably not even on the field in the first half”.

Wojciech hasn’t responded to these comments, and the question is whether he will have the chance to do so on the pitch or whether coach Adam Nawałka will reinstate Fabiański to the lineup. Fabiański has signed this week for West Ham United from Swansea City and was one of the few bright spots in the Swans’ relegation campaign after producing a great individual season.

Another visible problem for the Polish was the absence of defender Kamil Glik. Although dressed and on the bench vs Senegal, it is likely he has not yet received a green light from team doctors to play, but that may change come Sunday due to the match importance.

 Wojciech Szczęsny, the man in front of the Polish team (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Wojciech Szczęsny, the man in front of the Polish team (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Colombia (Idan Seggev)

No one, not even the most pessimist fans, could imagine this debut of Colombia in the World Cup. Except for the defeat, it was the horrible match that the team played which should concern the players, the staff and the fans. From a team with the potential to reach the quarter-final, Colombia lost to Japan and will play a crucial match against Poland in order to avoid elimination. More bad news? For Poland, it will be crucial as well, since they lost to Senegal. Prepare yourself for a World War III at the beautiful Kazan Arena stadium.

One change will be for sure in Colombia's lineup for Sunday match – Carlos Sanchez won't be in it. The midfielder who was sent off after only three minutes will be replaced most probably by Wilmar Barrios, although it still wasn't confirmed by Pekerman. There will be several questions due to the poor performance versus the Japanese:  Will Pekerman use again his center-back duo after their horrible form, especially Davinson Sanchez? Just a reminder, Colombia still has on the bench players like Yerry Mina and experienced Cristian Zapata. Another question is whether Muriel will start over Izquierdo who disappointed a lot? People will ask even if Mojica will receive more credit in such crucial match or will it be the 34-year-old veteran Farid Diaz?

The most important question will be if James Rodriguez 100% fit and start the match? When he entered in the second half against Japan, he looked more like 50% fit and was very slow. If he won't be completely able to play, It will be Juan Quintero again.

The answers to these questions will be given only few hours before the match just like Pekerman does always. This way or another, there's no second chance for Los Cafeteros who must win in order to keep their dream alive.

 Colombia must defeat Poland in order to avoid elimination (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Colombia must defeat Poland in order to avoid elimination (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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