In our Colombia Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this Colombia team. Can Colombia live up to the expectations at World Cup 2018?
Colombia Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: Jose Cuadrado, David Ospina, Camilo Vargas
Defenders: Santiago Arias, Yerry Mina, Johan Mojica, Oscar Murillo, Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Zapata, Farid Diaz
Midfielders: Abel Aguilar, Wilmar Barrios, Juan Cuadrado, Jefferson Lerma, Juan Quintero, James Rodriguez, Carlos Sanchez, Mateus Uribe
Forwards: Carlos Bacca, Miguel Borja, Radamel Falcao, Jose Izquierdo, Luis Muriel
- Manager: Jose Pekerman
- Captain: Radamel Falcao
- Best Finish: Quarter-Final (2014)
Likely starting lineup
In Brazil four years ago it felt as though Colombia had made a major step forward, as they made it to the World Cup quarter-finals and played some thrilling football along the way.
While they were eventually knocked out by the hosts, those who follow the country would’ve felt positive about what was to come in Russia in four years time. However, they haven’t quite kicked on as many anticipated.
In the end they were fourth in the CONMEBOL qualification for this World Cup, narrowly avoiding a playoff. In an attempt to find a formula that works, Pekerman called up a number of different players to the squad, making for a massive turnaround from the Brazil tournament; just 10 names of 23 are back again.
Despite a strive for balance and consistency, there are reasons for Colombians to believe in this team and that they’re capable of matching their run from 2014. And why not? The South Americans have some exceptional players on their books.
James Rodriguez relishes playing for his country, while Juan Cuadrado offers a tremendous threat down the right flank. Colombia will also have their main marksman available in Russia in Radamel Falcao; the Monaco forward missed the previous World Cup due to injury.
In defense, Colombia appear stronger than they were four years ago too. Davinson Sanchez was arguably the best young centre-back in the Premier League last season and in Jeison Murillo or Yerry Mina he has an able partner. The injury to raiding left-back Frank Fabra is a big blow, though.
They appear to be the class act of Group H, although expectations will be higher now for Colombia than they’ve ever been going into a World Cup. Pekerman will look to those who inspired a nation in 2014 to be talismanic once again and push Colombia deep into the tournament.
Key Man – James Rodriguez
Ever since he won the Golden Boot in Brazil four years ago, Rodriguez’s career has been a whirlwind.
The six-goal showing in 2014 led to a move to Real Madrid. After a strong first season, he struggled for regular minutes in the following campaigns, with manager Zinedine Zidane preferring a more pragmatic setup.
Perhaps with the upcoming World Cup on his mind Rodriguez moved to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal ahead of 2017-18. In the Bundesliga we’ve witnessed a player revitalised away from Madrid and seemingly ready to thrive with the planet watching on.
Rodriguez is the catalyst for Colombia in attack, with almost all of their work in the final third going through him. The midfielder plays behind the central striker, but is given freedom to drop deep, float wide and even push into the penalty area.
An inexperienced Colombia squad will be looking to Rodriguez to lead the charge here after what he accomplished previously and so frequently he’s proven he can be the man for Los Cafeteros when the pressure does bite. Replicating what he did four years ago will be tough, but Rodriguez has it in him to light up another major tournament.
Colombia’s Group Stage fixtures
Tuesday, June 19
Sunday, June 24
Thursday, June 28
Colombia’s path to the final
If Colombia wins Group H, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group G which will either be England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia. If Colombia wins that Round of 16 game, Colombia will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group F (Germany, Mexico, South Korea or Sweden) and the team that finishes second in Group E (either Costa Rica, Serbia, Brazil or Switzerland). If Colombia advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the B1 vs. A2 versus D1 vs. C2 series.
If Colombia finishes second in Group H, Colombia will play the team that finishes first in Group G (either England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia). If Colombia wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group E (either Costa Rica, Serbia, Brazil or Switzerland) and the team that finishes second in Group F (either Germany, South Korea, Mexico or Sweden). If Colombia advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the A1 vs. B2 versus C1 vs. D2 series.
Colombia World Cup shirt (home)
Colombia and adidas have captivated us with their new jersey for 2018. Los Cafeteros’ traditional yellow shirt is made with textured fabric, with three stripes along the sides, alternating red-blue-red. Within those stripes are additional thin navy stripes. The shirt features a sign-off on the back of the neck that says “UNIDOS POR UN PAIS” (United as one Nation). The design is an ode to the Italia 90 strip that saw them qualify for the competition for the first time in 28 years. Instead of red from the 1990 version, navy adidas three stripes are on the shoulders.
Colombia World Cup shirt (away)
A version of Colombia’s current away shirt, this soccer jersey blends past and present with a nod to the traditional dress of Colombia’s muleteers. It features sweat-wicking Climalite and a slightly looser cut for fan comfort. adidas is dedicated to creating products in ways that minimize their environmental impact. This product is made with recycled polyester to save resources and decrease emissions.
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