2018 World Cup Country Overview: Colombia

Alex Campean

Monday, February 26, 2018 7:22 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 7:22 PM UTC

The side led by striker Radamel “El Tigre” Falcao is back in the event after reaching the quarterfinals in 2014, but being in a competitive group won't make things easy.

World Cup Russia 2018: Colombia

Los Cafeteros are 13th in the FIFA World Rankings, and their greatest achievement in a World Cup was a quarterfinal four years ago in Brazil when they lost 1-2 against the hosts, being one of the surprise packages of the tournament. After having suffered a 16-year exile period since the World Cup in France in 1998, Colombia enters this competition full of confidence, qualifying for back-to-back World Cups and trying to improve their last result. Their main objective is to qualify in the knockout stages, but it will be difficult as they were drawn in probably the most even and wide-open group alongside Poland, Japan and Senegal. They are the 10th-favorite to win the trophy, being priced at +4000 with Unibet.

Colombia was not very impressive in the South America qualifying stages, finishing their group in fourth place behind Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, waiting until the last game to make it to Russia. They have a solid, well-balanced group, a competitive squad with most of their players competing in the top-five European leagues. Coach Jose Pekerman has a huge international experience, leading Argentina to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2006 in Germany and getting credit for making back-to-back World Cups with his new side. Colombia has all the necessary weapons and they look more than capable to replicate the incredible result in 2014, but first they should focus on getting in the first two spots in their group. Before departing to Russia they will play two friendly matches, facing France on March 23 at the Stade de France in Paris, and visiting the Craven Cottage in London four days later to play Australia.

Key Players

Goalkeeper: Arsenal’s David Ospina earned 81 caps for Colombia, being the undisputed first choice with consistent performances for his country since 2007.

Defender: AC Milan’s player since 2012, Cristian Zapata is a solid central-back well known for his tackles and air balls, with great experience playing at the highest level in Italy and Spain. His versatility and rock-solid defending will prove to be crucial in Russia. Barcelona’s 23-year-old Yerry Mina and Tottenham’s 21-year-old Davinson Sanchez will also make the cut but probably will be benched.

Midfielder: Struggling to find his rhythm in Spain at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich superstar James Rodriguez has revived his form in Bundesliga and is one of Colombia’s key players. He is one of the best players of his generation with great vision and control of the ball, and was selected for the World Cup 2014 all-star team. He hits the ball in an unique way, being the man with the assists and a great outside-the-box scorer. After undergoing surgery on a groin injury in January, Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado is expected to be 100-percent fit for the World Cup.

Striker: AS Monaco’s Radamel “El Tigre” Falcao is one of the best strikers in Europe, with some brilliant performances this season for reigning French champion AS Monaco. He will be eager to compete in Russia after missing the last World Cup in Brazil due to injury.

World Cup Schedule

June 19 vs. Japan

June 24 vs. Poland

June 28 vs. Senegal

Betting Markets

To win the tournament at +4000 with Unibet

To reach the final at +1800 with Betfred

To reach quarterfinals at +160 with Marathonbet.com

Group G Winners at +138 with WilliamHill

Radamel Falcao Top Goalscorer at +6700 with Betfair

James Rodriguez to be Colombia’s Top Goalscorer at +275 with Bet Victor

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