Poland crash out of World Cup after 0-3 loss to Colombia

James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez

After Colombia and Poland lost opening matches to Japan and Senegal, respectively, Sunday's match was a must-win - a draw wouldn't have done much for either side. "He is a symbol of Colombian football".

On the half-hour mark, Colombia suffered a setback when Abel Aguilar had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Mateus Uribe.

James Rodriguez celebrated being back in the starting line up by setting up Yerry Mina to give Colombia the lead at the break.

Poland were battling to keep possession of the ball, allowing the South Americans to run at them, perhaps hoping to pounce with a swift counter.

Colombia's Radamel Falcao (L) and Poland's Michal Pazdan battle for the ball during the group H match between Poland and Colombia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia on Jun 24, 2018. Falcao missed the tournament in Brazil with a knee injury and had to wait until arriving in Russian Federation to score his first World Cup goal.

Poland and Colombia came into Sunday's game in the knowledge that Japan and Senegal had earlier drawn 2-2 in Ekaterinburg.

Colombia, for the part played 87 minutes in their opening match with 10 men after Carlos Sanchez was shown the second-fastest World Cup red card in history.

The way they opened up the Polish defence for the killer second goal was fantastic, Quintero accepting a low ball from the right side with the softest of touches before delivering a flawless pass for Falcao to slip beyond Wojciech Szczesny with the outside of his boot.

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Colombia slowed the pace in the second half, showing good counterattacking qualities.

Unfortunately for Poland the response was swift, with Colombia settling on the ball and going on to dominate the rest of the match.

Poland led their qualifying group nearly from start to finish, finishing with eight wins, one draw and a defeat with Lewandowski leading Europe's qualifying campaign with 16 of the side's 28 goals.

Given his first start after fully recovering from a calf injury, Rodriguez lived up to expectations. He pressed relentlessly, tracked back and delivered an assist for Mina.

Harry Kane and England scored early and often, Japan cancelled out Sadio Mane and Senegal and James Rodriguez added to his impressive World Cup resume.

Poland threatened again, but when Lewandowski got his head to a cross into the area he was marked by both Mina and Davinson Sanchez.

But when Rodriguez's stunning switch of play caught Poland out, the winger showed great pace and ideal placement into the corner.

Few players were as hyped before Russian Federation 2018 as Poland's Robert Lewandowski, but with a game to go, the striker and his team are already out.

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