Paul Merson: If England 'don't get to the last four I'd be shocked'

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has claimed England have nothing to fear against Columbia and has backed them to get to the semi-finals.

After England's defeat to Belgium on Thursday, many feel England have been left with the easier path to the final.

Headlines such as 'This way to the final' and 'England lose (but did they really win?)' were splashed across the back pages of the English media yesterday.

But Merson, writing for Sky Sports, says England's road to the semi-finals is clear.

"I watched Colombia the other day and there's nothing to be scared of there for England," Merson said in his Sky Sports column.

"They are dangerous at set plays but we are as good as anybody at set plays. I was sat there watching the Belgium game saying please don't score!

"If we don't get to the last four I'd be shocked. At the start of the tournament, we were saying that if we'd get past the quarter-finals it'd be great but if we don't get to a semi-final now it won't have been a very good tournament. I've always said we've had a chance but at the moment I can't see past Brazil.

"However, from here if we don't reach the semi-finals you have to class it as disappointing. The route we've got now is Colombia, who have been poor and had James Rodriguez limped out of the Senegal game.

Then it's Sweden or Switzerland. No disrespect to the two countries but if you can't beat them you are not winning World Cups.

Merson's comments are in stark contrast to fellow pundit Alan Shearer, who said England should not be "picking and plotting our route to the final".

Writing in his BBC Sport Column, Shearer said: "With our record at major tournaments, how on earth can we be so arrogant to look ahead like that, or think we will roll anyone over?

"England have won two knockout games at World Cups since 1990 - against Denmark in 2002 and Ecuador in 2006 - so, before we get carried away, let's deal with Colombia first."


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