Merson: England have nothing to fear versus Colombia

Former England star Paul Merson believes that the Three Lions should feel confident of beating Colombia in Tuesday’s Round of 16 World Cup clash at Otkritie Arena in Moscow.

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Gareth Southgate’s men qualified to face the South Americans after finishing second in Group G following a defeat to Belgium in which eight changes were made.

Meanwhile, Los Cafeteros ended top of Group H after a defeat to Japan but followed that setback with consecutive victories over Poland and Senegal.

Nonetheless, Merson takes the view that resting key personnel in the loss to Die Roten Teufel was a good decision by Southgate, as it sets up a potentially easier route to the final for the English.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the former Arsenal attacking midfielder said: “Fair play to Gareth with what he did against Belgium.

“He had to rest everyone because it has been a long Premier League season. Everything’s worked out perfectly.

“I watched Colombia the other day and there’s nothing to be scared of there for England.

“They are dangerous at set plays but we are as good as anybody at set plays. I was sat there watching the Belgium game saying please don’t score!

“If we don’t get to the last four I’d be shocked. At the start of the tournament, we were saying that if we’d get past the quarter-finals it’d be great but if we don’t get to a semi-final now it won’t have been a very good tournament.”