Opposition Scouting Report: How can Senegal beat Colombia?

Colombia were rather unlucky in their first game against Japan having played virtually all the game with a man fewer after the third-minute sending off.

However, they improved significantly in their second clash against Poland, and represent a significant obstacle for Senegal as the Lions of Teranga look to become Africa's sole representatives in the Last 16.

What are Colombia's strengths?

Juan Cuadrado was a danger, and looked very confident throughout, demonstrating the ability to pick up the ball deep and drive with pace.

Senegal, and particularly left-back Youssouf Sabaly, have to watch him and get tight, as he can cross the ball well into the box, has good quick feet and can beat a player.

Juan Fernando Quintero played in the hole against the Poles and found good space, he's very confident and comfortable in possession.

Particularly notable is his ability to link up play, while he has a good change of direction. His passing ability can cause damage, particularly if given time and space, and his reverse passing and interplay with Radamel Falcao is a major weapon for Colombia.

James Rodriguez played a part in two of the goals, and looks to be getting back to his best.

He boasts very good vision and the technique to open up a defence.

He offered a pinpoint cross for Yerry Mina's headed goal, and delivered a great pass for the third, taking out three players to find Cuadrado.

The Bayern Munich man has six goals and four assists, and he represents a major test for young right-back Moussa Wague.

Just ahead of him, Falcao is dangerous in and around the box and can get goals. Despite his advancing years, he has good movement, good energy, and is a lively presence.

Technically, his finishing is impressive, although he has lost the ball on too many occasions so far this tournament.

These four players are each a significant threat for Senegal.

They can all link up and demonstrate good combination play with good technical ability, movement and interchanging.

Poland were exposed early on due to the lack of pressure they put on Colombia's forwards and the space they afforded them.

If Senegal do the same, they'll regret it.

What are Colombia's weaknesses?

Colombia do like to be quite open and expansive in possession, and this can represent an opportunity for Iceland.

Both full-backs offer an outlet in possession getting up the field, and so in offensive transition, they can leave spaces in both channels to hit early and exploit the spaces.

In Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and maybe even Keita Balde, if he plays, Senegal have the players to capitalise on this potential vulnerability.

The backline isn't fully convincing and in control at all times, they have a tendency to be rash and clumsy, and it'll be interesting to see how they fare against the directness and physicality of in-form Mbaye Niang.

Potentially can be also be done with the early ball in behind the back four, as Sanchez and Mina like to play high up the pitch. This worked against Japan and Poland, but it could represent an opportunity for Senegal's speedy forwards.


There's no denying that Colombia are a clear threat, with Falcao, James, Cuadrado and Quintero all capable of doing series damage to that Senegal backline.

The Lions of Teranga must make life difficult for these four, limiting the space between them and cutting off the influential Quintero.

At the back, Colombia will leave space in behind, and while their defenders to have pace to recover, you'd probably fancy the Lions' forwards in a straight footrace.