World Cup 2014 Group C – Colombia

Outright odds: 40/1

To win group: 19/20

To qualify: 3/10

 

Full squad: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Pablo Armero (West Ham), Cristian Zapata (Milan), Mario Yepes (Atalanta), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo), Santiago Arias (PSV), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Aldo Ramirez (Morelia), Alex Mejia (Atleico Nacional), Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund).

 

Manager: Jose Pekerman

 

World Cup record: Last 16 (1990), Group stage (1962, 1994, 1998)

 

Colombia are one of many sides missing a star player at this World Cup but they can cope without Radamel Falcao and have realistic hopes of going well into the tournament. Los Cafeteros’s main man was ruled out practically from the moment he suffered a serious knee injury and while his late ruling out was a blow, Colombia look well prepared for the challenge ahead without him.

 

 

Under Jose Penkerman – who arrived three games into qualifying – they’ve undergone steady improvement and now lie fifth in the world, a ranking they’ve earned after beating Chile to come second in the South American qualification process, and they boast plenty of firepower to help them with that aim.

 

 

Falcao’s nine goals were crucial but three were from the penalty spot and there’s plenty of backup. Carlos Bacca only got three games in qualifying but ended the season in superb style for Sevilla, scoring 14 goals over the season, and provides a potential line alongside Teoflio Gutierez has found coring form with iver Plate with five goals in his last last club games.

 

Monaco’s other Colombian star, James Rodriguez, scored 9 goals for Monaco this season and alongside Juan Cuadrado – who scored 11 goals for Fiorentina in a fine Serie A season- provides two very potent running and scoring threats from deep. That foursome of players is backed up by Edwin Valencia and Abel Aguilar, whose pressing in midfield has proven to be an effective covering of a defence vulnerable to pace with Christian Yepes now a liability going back on himself and more impressive centrebacks than Christian Zapata playing their trade at this World Cup. However, in qualifying no side conceded less than Colombia’s 13 goals – they conceded just 2 to Argentina in their two games – so the system seems to be effective although the loss of Luis Perea is a concern.

 

 

Fredy Guarin provides pace and power from deep and so does Pablo Amero and Walter Zuniga, which is likely to be a great asset against a deep sitting Greece and two sides that are combative in their play in the Ivory Coast and Japan. A beating of Belgium and a draw with Holland suggests they are more then capable of holding their own at an elite level and they should feel confident of progression throughought the tournament.

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