Poland vs. Colombia: Team News, Live Stream, TV Info for World Cup 2018

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2018

SARANSK, RUSSIA - JUNE 19:   Radamel Falcao of Colombia looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group H match between Colombia and Japan at Mordovia Arena on June 19, 2018 in Saransk, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Poland and Colombia need points when they meet for a crucial Group H encounter at the Kazan Arena on Sunday after making losing starts at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Colombia lost 2-1 against Japan last time out, while Poland found themselves beaten by the same scoreline by impressive Senegal. It means there will be little margin for error in Kazan, with the onus on each nation's star striker improving on recent drab performances.

Robert Lewandowski was close to anonymous against Senegal, lacking the support he needs to thrive. Similarly, Radamel Falcao was a subdued figure after Colombia were reduced to 10 men early against Japan.

Falcao's fortunes will improve if James Rodriguez returns to the starting XI. The top scorer at the 2014 World Cup was on the bench for his country's opener, but he has the creative instincts and natural flair to exploit a suspect Polish defence.

        

Date: Sunday, June 24

Time: 9 p.m. local time (7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET)

TV Info: ITV 1/Fox

Live Stream: ITV Hub. Fox Soccer MatchPass.

        

James needs to be on from the start in a must-win game for Colombia. The mercurial No. 10 came off the bench against Japan, but coach Jose Pekerman needs the Bayern Munich loanee's vision and skill to dictate this match.

James can improve Colombia's fortunes in the final third.
James can improve Colombia's fortunes in the final third.Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

There is a hole in the Colombia midfield after Carlos Sanchez was shown a red card for handball in the opening game. While his tenacity will be missed, Colombia will benefit from adding more ingenuity to the middle.

By contrast, Poland don't have an obvious creator in central areas. Instead, coach Adam Nawalka looks to the brawn and savvy of Grzegorz Krychowiak to boss midfield.

Krychowiak is a willing ball-winner, but the 28-year-old defensive midfielder struggled to find his passing range against Japan. Poland need quality supply to the wide areas, where wingers Piotr Zielinski and Kamil Grosicki can cause any team problems.

Lewandowski has the ability to turn consistent crosses into goals. His mobility, height and power will trouble Colombia at the back, but he needs better support around him.

Krychowiak and Lewandowski must lead the way for Poland.
Krychowiak and Lewandowski must lead the way for Poland.TF-Images/Getty Images

Support could come from Sampdoria striker Dawid Kownacki, who "may start the game after he impressed against Senegal as a second-half substitute," per BBC Sport.

Getting players closer to Lewandowski will be vital for Poland, while Krychowiak must be at his destructive best to keep James under wraps.

Prediction: Poland 0-2 Colombia

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