England face Colombia tonight in battle to reach World Cup quarter-finals

The Three Lions’ dream of winning the tournament depends on today’s game

England's captain Harry Kane (left) and team manager Gareth Southgate
England's captain Harry Kane (left) and team manager Gareth Southgate

England will tonight be facing Colombia, in a game which they must win if their dream of lifting the World Cup this year is to come to fruition.

The Three Lions successfully reached the knockout phase of the tournament, with many commentators saying that they now have one of the best opportunities in decades to win the World Cup.

If they are to reach the quarter-finals - where they would be facing either Sweden or Switzerland, who are also playing today - manager Gareth Southgate’s team will need to avoid any mistakes in their game against the Colombians.

Historically, England haven't won a knockout game in any major tournament since they beat Ecuador in the 2006 World Cup.

Southgate has said he wants his men to avoid falling into the trap of thinking of any other match apart from the next one.

“That was a trap we’ve fallen into in the past,” he said, “I can see everybody is more excited, but we have to think separately, otherwise we just get carried away on the wave of emotion and we would not be thinking clearly about what we have to do.”

“We have to control the bits we have to control. But we would be foolish to focus on longer into the tournament,” he underscored.

Colombia are a strong team that cannot be taken lightly by the English squad, and which are determined to beat England, even without their star player James Rodríguez, who is injured.

Southgate admitted that England can only be regarded as a top team if they manage to beat top teams, something which was highlighted by their loss in their final group, against Belgium, last week.

They previously won against Tunisia and Panama, but both teams offered sub-standard opposition and could not portray an accurate picture of the quality of Southgate’s squad.

If they are to progress further, and stand any chance of confirming their fans’ hopes of winning the World Cup for a second time, they have to show they are good enough tonight.

The England vs Colombia match starts at 8pm CEST. Check out MaltaToday's World Cup 2018 page for all the latest results of the tournament.