England boost: Colombia ‘extremely concerned’ over James

Matt Stead

England’s World Cup last-16 opponents Colombia are “extremely concerned” over the fitness of James Rodriguez.

Colombia reached the knockout stages of the World Cup by winning their final two matches in Group H.

They beat Senegal 1-0 thanks to a Yerry Mina header on Thursday, sealing top spot and a date with England in the next round.

But they suffered a blow when Rodriguez had to be substituted early with an injury.

The Bayern Munich star missed most of the first game with the problem, before returning to play the full 90 minutes in the second game against Poland.

But manager Jose Pekerman has cast doubt on his availability against England.

“What I can say is I’m extremely concerned, it’s a very tough situation for my team,” said Pekerman.

“I didn’t want to address this in comments because it seems one of these topics [that] can overshadow everything else.

“In the last Poland match James felt fatigue but it was only fatigue and that was due to him not being present in the previous match.

“He trained normally for us until yesterday, he stayed on afterwards practicing finishing, free-kicks, penalties. He was fully fit in training and in the last training session there was no hint of any injury but right now I don’t know where he stands, to be honest.”

Asked whether the injury was a recurrence of the calf problem he has been suffering with, Pekerman replied: “At the moment I don’t have that information.

“I cannot confirm or deny anything, we’ll have to wait and see.

“We do hope that we’ll hear good news after he’s gone for his check-up and we’ll get a clear idea of what happened.

“What we’re trying to do now is think about what we need to do going forward.”