In our Colombia preview, we look ahead to this summer’s Copa America Centenario tournament and include Colombia’s schedule, squad roster, star players as well as predicting how far they’ll advance in the tournament.
Manager: Jose Pekerman
Captain: James Rodriguez
Colombia preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cristian Bonilla (Atlético Nacional, COL), David Ospina (Arsenal, ENG), Róbinson Zapata (Santa Fe, COL)
DEFENDERS (8): Felipe Aguilar (Atlético Nacional, COL), Santiago Arias (PSV, NED), Farid Díaz (Atlético Nacional, COL), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors, ARG), Stefan Medina (Pachuca, MEX), Jeison Murillo (Inter Milan, ITA), Yerry Mina (Santa Fe, COL), Cristián Zapata (AC Milan, ITA)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Edwin Cardona (Monterrey, MEX), Guillermo Celis (Junior, COL), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus, ITA), Sebastián Pérez (Atlético Nacional, COL), Andrés Felipe Roa (Deportivo Cali, COL), James Rodríguez (Real Madrid, ESP), Carlos Sánchez (Aston Villa, ENG), Daniel Torres (Independiente Medellín, COL)
FORWARDS (4): Carlos Bacca (AC Milan, ITA), Roger Martínez (Racing Club, ARG), Marlos Moreno (Atlético Nacional, COL), Dayro Moreno (Club Tijuana, MEX)
Colombia preview: Overview:
Expectations were high for Colombia ahead of the 2015 Copa America after an impressive showing at the World Cup the summer before. But the attacking swagger which endeared this team to so many in 2014 was scarce in the Copa, as they limped out on penalties Argentina in the quarter-finals.
Hopes for Colombia aren’t especially high coming into this one. Pekerman has some talented players at his disposal, but the team has struggled for balance since last summer’s underwhelming showing, failing to beat Uruguay, Chile and Argentina in World Cup qualifying recently.
The group is without a few familiar names too. At the point of the attack Pekerman has opted against selecting former skipper and all-time top scorer Radamel Falcao after his dreadful season at Chelsea. Also absent is Jackson Martinez, who left Atletico Madrid in January to join Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.
They’re both players who have made a big difference for Colombia in the past and it’ll be intriguing to see how the team copes without their predatory instincts. More emphasis will certainly be on the shoulders of winger Juan Cuadrado and new skipper James Rodriguez.
The latter has endured a testing season with Real Madrid and hasn’t been in Zinedine Zidane’s plans since the Frenchman took over. With more onus on the captain, Los Cafeteros supporters will hoping to see a recuperated Rodriguez rather than a rusty version following his spell on the bench. After all, on his day he can swing a clash.