James and Colombia target last 16

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James Rodriguez and Colombia have one final group game left in Russia when they meet Senegal on Thursday (16.00 CEST). A win for the South Americans and they are through to the last 16. However, a draw would also be enough if James’ Bayern teammate Robert Lewandowski and his Poland side help out with a win over Japan. That being said, Colombia boss Jose Pekerman does not want his team to be reliant on outside help.

“We have to remain calm and tell ourselves we’ve got another final on Thursday,” James explained following his impressive performance against Poland, where he looked to be in top form at the right time. The winner of the 2014 Golden Boot provided two assists in Colombia’s 3-0 win on Sunday. The 26-year-old had been unable to start the first game against Japan with muscle problems and only came on in the closing stages, but he once again looks back to his best in time for the third and final match.

As well as James, Colombian hopes are also pinned on striker Radamel Falcao, who scored his first World Cup goal against Poland. “He deserved it because he’s trained a lot. I hope he can score even more,” James said of the 32-year-old. The Colombia team are also aware of the strengths of their opponents Senegal. “We have to watch out because Senegal are a great team. They’ve got excellent players who play in really good teams in the best leagues. We have to be ready for everything,” stressed winger Juan Cuadrado.

Colombia have been in Samara for the game since Tuesday and will hold their final training session on Wednesday. Apart from Abel Aguilar, who is suffering with a groin injury, coach Pekerman has a full squad to pick from. Carlos Sanchez is available once again following his suspension.

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