Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

2018 World Cup team preview: Colombia

3 Comments

Getting to know Colombia: Quarterfinalists in Brazil behind an amazing tournament from James Rodriguez, Los Cafeteros face a much tougher road out of the group stage in their sixth World Cup.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

For more history on Colombia, click here.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 


What group are they in? Group H. Japan is probably the underdog of the bunch, with Poland, Colombia, and Senegal all capable of claiming top honors

Game schedule – Group H – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Tuesday, June 19: Colombia v Japan, Saransk 8 a.m. ET
Sunday, June 24: Poland v Colombia, Kazan 2 p.m. ET
Thursday, June 28: Senegal v Colombia, Samara 10 a.m. ET


Projected lineup (4-1-4-1) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Ospina —–

— Arias — D. Sanchez — Mina — Fabra —

— C. Sanchez —

— Cuadrado — James — Uribe — Bacca —

—- Falcao —-


Star player: James Rodriguez — On loan at Bayern, the soon-to-be 27-year-old reclaimed the form that got him from Monaco to Real Madrid. James posted seven goals and 11 assists in just 23 league matches this season, nearly on par with his 13 and 13 in 29 on La Liga debut at Real.


Manager: José Pékerman – The 68-year-old Argentine oversaw the fun run in 2014, and has thrice behind named the South American Coach of the Year.


Secret weapon: Yerry Mina — Barcelona’s 23-year-old center back got some playing time late in his first La Liga season


Prediction: Will battle to advance, and needs to make its statement with an opening win over Japan. Failing that, they are out early. In its last three matches, however, Los Cafeteros have beaten France and shutout Egypt and Australia. Colombia just might push through, and is a nightmare in a one-off situation.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
Leave a comment

West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

Leave a comment

In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.