The match started to a barrage of noise from the yellow-shirted Colombian fans on a sweltering evening at the Kazan Arena and the early exchanges were frenetic with both sides keen to make up for their opening losses.
Poland’s offensive tactics were limited to launching long balls toward Lewandowski and although Colombia were trying to play the ball on the floor, they could not get their passes to stick.
Cuadrado was causing some problems down Poland’s right flank, however, and a piece of mazy dribbling in the 37th minute saw the winger forge the first genuine opening, which goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny blocked behind.
The respite was brief and on the next Colombia attack Juan Quintero found Rodriguez inside the box and he chipped the ball into the danger area for Mina to head into the net from point-blank range.
The Poles came out firing at the start of the second half and Lewandowski finally got a chance to open his World Cup account in the 58th minute but his first touch on the long ball was not his best and goalkeeper David Ospina smothered his shot.
Colombia saw off the danger and doubled the lead after 70 minutes when Quintero’s pass allowed Falcao to beat the last defender before stroking the ball past Szczesny with the outside of his boot.
Poland continued to push forward and five minutes later they were caught on the break when Rodriguez rasped a pass across the field to set Cuadrado free on goal and allow the winger to claim fitting reward for a fine performance with a cool finish.
Lewandowski had a thunderous drive tipped over the bar by Ospina and the keeper put his body on the line again to block a Dawid Kownacki shot from close range but it was too little, too late.
“We lost against a very strong team and this is what we have to accept,” said Poland coach Adam Nawalka. “I am very sorry and very sad that we lost but tomorrow is another day.”Published: 2018-06-25 09:07:26