England manager Mark Sampson is expecting anything but an easy ride when his side face “real awkward” Colombia tonight looking to seal a spot in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup.
The Lionesses lie second in Group F after one win and one defeat and are a point behind surprise leaders Colombia heading into the game at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Although the Colombians are the lowest-ranked side in the group – 22 spots below sixth-placed England in the FIFA standings – Sampson is not taking anything for granted and knows his team will need to be on their game against the South Americans, who defied the odds to beat one of the tournament favourites, France, on Saturday.
Sampson admits that because his players are more used to playing European sides, Colombia will be something of an unknown quantity. “I’d describe them as a real awkward opponent,” said Sampson.
“They’re a team that will make your life as difficult as possible. They’ll have players in positions where you don’t expect to see them.”
Colombia’s shock win over a France side ranked third in world rocketed them to the top of the group and they know that a draw against England will guarantee them a knockout stage berth.
England, meanwhile, need to win to be assured of a top-two finish in Group F with France favourites to beat bottom team Mexico in the other game.