World Cup team preview: Colombia
Just 23 days remain until the World Cup and we have 23 more teams to preview ahead of the festival of football. Today it’s Colombia, currently sweating on the fitness of Falcao.
Group F: Ivory Coast, Greece, Japan
Tournament odds: 25/1
The bad news is that Rudamel Falcao, their goal-scoring sensation is still doubtful for the World Cup. The good news is that their defence has been watertight up to this point and have been placed in arguably the weakest group in the competition.
The 28-year-old tore his ACL in January and his participation could dictate who tops the group – Ivory Coast the biggest threat – and their overall ambitions.
It would be unfair to label a side that finished second to Brazil in qualifying as a one-man team and their defence in particular has been outstanding.
If the Monaco forward can somehow manage to regain his fitness, then ambitions of surpassing the last 16, their best ever tournament in 1990, is a very realistic ambition.
How they got here
Colombia finished second in CONMEBOL behind Brazil and showed that the team could be a force to be reckoned with this summer. Falcao’s nine goals in thirteen matches grabbed the headlines, but the Colombians had the meanest defence in the qualifying and will be crucial to their progression in the competition.
38-year-old captain Mario Yepes will anchor the centre, with veteran Luis Perea (75 caps) and talented A.C. Milan defender Cristian Zapata supplying the support.
Key Player: Carlos Bacca
If Falcao doesn't make it, or fails to return to his razor-sharp self, then the goal scoring responsibilities may rest with Carlos Bacca.
In his first year in Spanish football Bacca scored 21 goals for Sevilla and helped them to the Europa league title over Benfica. He is rumoured to be wanted by Everton and is known for his eye catching ability in front of goal.
Something you might not know about Colombia
The name Colombia is derived from the name Christopher Columbus.