Tuesday 17 July 2018

Colombia sweat on James fitness

Colombia's James Rodriguez takes part in a training session at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Colombia's James Rodriguez takes part in a training session at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Independent.oe Sportsdesk

Colombia talisman James Rodriguez is a doubtful starter for tonight's Group H opener against Japan in Saransk.

Rodriguez, the top scorer in Brazil 2014 with six goals in five matches, missed a training session in Kazan on Friday due to muscle fatigue. His left calf has reportedly been troubling him.

The 26-year-old trained at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Monday but his state of fitness was still unclear.

"We are waiting to see what the doctors will say after the last check," said Colombia coach Jose Pekerman.

Great expectations have been placed on Rodriguez as the spearhead of the best generation of Colombian players since the 1990s. But his club performances since 2014 have been inconsistent and he is currently on loan to Bayern Munich from Real Madrid.

Pekerman insisted several other players could step up to the mark should Rodriguez not take the field. One ace up his sleeve is striker Radamel Falcao, Colombia's all-time top scorer. 'El Tigre' is raring to make his World Cup debut, having missed the 2014 tournament through injury.

"Our team is much richer, much stronger (than in 2014). We've got much more flexibility," said Pekerman.

Irish Independent

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