Monday 02 July 2018, 09:20

Colombia’s Sanchez on a mission: Stop Kane!

  • Davinson Sanchez has represented Colombia at every age level

  • Made his full international debut at 20

  • Has now won 12 caps with Los Cafeteros

Davinson Sanchez has proved during the course of his short career that he is not one to shirk a challenge. The youngest member of the Colombia squad, he has acquired a reputation as a determined and dependable performer every time he steps on the pitch.

He will need those qualities the next time he does so, in the Round of 16 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, when he will have the onerous task of stopping his Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Harry Kane, the tournament’s leading goalscorer so far with five goals in two matches.

The two will come face to face on Tuesday at Spartak Stadium, and though the Colombian has a handful of other Spurs colleagues in the England side, the duel with Kane promises to generate the most sparks of all.

Defender meets striker “He’s one of the best strikers around, and we know Harry can make all the difference at the World Cup,” said the young defender at a press conference. So can the 22-year-old block Kane’s path to goal? He believes he has the ability and the confidence to do so, as he told “If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”

And it is with that firmly in mind that Sanchez will set about the task of ensuring Kane does not prove the match-winner that he so often is with Tottenham. The Colombian has the advantage of knowing the England striker’s strengths, which he was witnessed time and again at Spurs training sessions.

Though the talented Kane is as sharp as they come in the final third, Sanchez is as familiar with his moves as anyone and will hope to thwart him with his ability in the air and speed on the ground.

Senegal v Colombia: Davinson Sanchez of Colombia gestures during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group H

Did you know?

  • Colombia and England have met on five previous occasions. Los Cafeteros have yet to record a win in the fixture.

  • The England squad features five of Sanchez’s Tottenham team-mates: Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele, and Kane.

  • The Colombian made 31 appearances for Spurs last season. They lost only four of those matches and went without conceding in 13 of them.

In the line of sight Though the Colombian is an authority on England’s players, they know plenty about his game too. It is also no surprise that the English media have been doing their homework on Sanchez, one of last season’s outstanding new arrivals in the Premier League.

“He’s a fantastic player, a big threat, and we have to be ready to face him,” said Dele, another of his Spurs colleagues, speaking to the press. “We know how he plays, we know his strong points, and we’ll be looking to exploit the few weaknesses that he has.”

Though Kane has played down any talk of a one-on-one duel with his club-mate, he told FIFA there will be no love lost on the pitch. “He’s been an important player for us at Spurs,” said the England frontman. “He’s a great guy, but once we’re out there I’m sure we’ll start battling it out with each other.”

The two will no doubt share an embrace before Tuesday’s game, but once the whistle blows any friendship between them will be put to one side. There is, after all, a World Cup quarter-final place to play for. “We’re going to give it all we’ve got to stay alive in the competition,” vowed a determined Sanchez.

The lowdown on Davinson Sanchez

  • Started out as a defensive midfielder

  • Made his senior Colombia debut on 15 November 2016

  • A Young Player of the Year nominee at the 2018 London Football Awards