James Rodriguez Colombia
File photo of Colombia striker James Rodriguz.Reuters

After stunning quite a few with their run to quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago, Colombia are gearing up for their opening game at Russia World Cup 2018. 

The Los Cafeteros will be open their campaign in Group H against Asian powerhouses Japan at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk on Tuesday, June 19. 

Meanwhile, Poland, banking on their Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, open their campaign in a tricky encounter against Senegal in Moscow later today. 

Here are some interesting tidbits about the South American dark-horses and the Polish side, who will be hoping to join the former from the group into the knockout stages

  1. Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez turned fortunes for his nation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, he not only bagged the golden boot scoring six goals but also helped his nation reach the last eight for the first time in their history. His stunning volley against Uruguay was named the goal of the tournament helping him to win the FIFA Puskas award 2014 as well. He was 22 years old at that time.
  2. Colombia, fondly known as Los Cafeteros, have had a peculiar stat attached to them. In their last 18 games, they have never managed to keep the scoresheet clean. There have been no goalless draws for the South Americans.
  3. Former Colombian custodian, Faryd Mondrag√≥n, has an interesting record to his name. The gap between his first and last World Cup appearance i.e. 16 years has been the longest by any player as he played in 1998 and then in 2014.
  4. In 1962 World Cup Chile, Colombia made the biggest comeback in the history of World Cup, when they drew against the Soviet Union with a 4-4 scoreline after trailing by 4-1. Colombia's second goal was scored by Marcos Tulio Coll Tesillo, also known as El Olimpico, as he scored a goal from the corner kick, till now the only Olympic goal in the history of the competition.

Poland

  1. Poland's golden period in World Cup was from 1972-1986 as they finished third on two occasions. Overall they have made seven appearances at the World Cup qualifying last in 2006 and managing just two goals in their last eight World Cup games.
  2. Poland first tasted success when they defeated Argentina in 1974 by a 3-2 margin in Stuttgart. They were in the form of their life as they went on to win five games in a row in that World Cup. They eventually lost to West Germany and had to settle for the third place.
  3. In 1938, Polish striker Ernest Wilimowski scored 4 goals against Brazil, but that did not stop a formidable Brazil side to trample them by 6-5 consequentially eliminating them from the tournament. Infamously he became the only player in history to score a haul and end up on the losing side.
  4. Poland's golden period in World Cup was from 1972-1986 as they finished third on two occasions. Overall they have made seven appearances at the World Cup qualifying last in 2006 and managing just two goals in their last eight World Cup games.
  5. Poland first tasted success when they defeated Argentina in 1974 by a 3-2 margin in Stuttgart. They were in the form of their life as they went on to win five games in a row in that World Cup. They eventually lost to West Germany and had to settle for the third place.