World Cup: Scan shows Colombia's James Rodriguez has 'bruising' but no decision for England game

James Rodriguez leaving the pitch after being injured during the World Cup match between Colombia and Senegal, on June 28, 2018.
James Rodriguez leaving the pitch after being injured during the World Cup match between Colombia and Senegal, on June 28, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KAZAN, RUSSIA (AFP) - Colombia striker James Rodriguez has "minor bruising" in a calf muscle but no decision has been taken on whether he will play against England in the World Cup last 16, the team said late on Saturday (June 30).

James, who was top scorer at the 2014 World Cup with six goals, limped off in the first half of Colombia's final group game against Senegal on Thursday which they won 1-0.

An MRI scan showed he has "minor bruising without any tear in the muscle fibres", the Colombian football federation said.

Colombia face England at Moscow's Spartak Stadium on Tuesday.

Earlier, defender Carlos Sanchez insisted that the South American side are not favourites against England, "the country that invented football".

England coach Gareth Southgate rested eight first-choice players in their last group match against Belgium, which they lost 1-0, setting up a meeting with the South Americans rather than the lower-ranked Japan. The result also meant England avoided the tougher top half of the draw, which features heavyweights including Brazil and France.

The winner of the match between England and Colombia will play whoever comes out on top in the clash between Switzerland and Sweden - but first England have to overcome the quarter-finalists from the last World Cup.

"We're not the favourites, we're playing against the country that invented football," said 32-year-old Espanyol midfielder Sanchez. "But we have our own weapons and once the game starts the only thing that matters is on the pitch. Matches like this are won by small details. Colombia fear no one now."

The Colombia camp are crossing their fingers over the fitness of Rodriguez.

"James is a great player but I am sure that if he doesn't play there will be other players who can make a difference," he said. "Each one of us here is prepared and ready to play and whoever plays will do their best."

England striker Harry Kane was rested in the Belgium defeat but is still top of the goalscoring charts, with five goals in two matches. However, Sanchez said it would be foolish for Colombia to focus too much on the Tottenham man.

"Harry Kane is an emblematic player who has demonstrated his quality at this World Cup but we are not only facing him, we're playing against the whole England team, who have a lot of key players," said Sanchez, who knows English football well, having spent two seasons with Aston Villa from 2014 to 2016.