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World Cup 2018: Colombia


Colombia will start their World Cup 2018 campaign in Mordovia against Group H rival Japan.

Colombia’s Group H draw was very fortunate and Jose Pekerman’s team is favoured to go through to the knockout round. Poland and Senegal round out Group H.

The Colombians made it to the quarterfinals four years ago in Brazil.There, the team was defeated by Brazil. This time around, a winnable group means Pekerman’s squad cannot only top its group, but it can go deep into the World Cup knockout rounds. Colombia have a squad of proven veteran players and rising stars in the club game. Captain Radamel Falcao is the undisputed leader of the side. Falcao has scored 29 goals in 73 international appearances. He may not score the team’s most goals in Russia, but he will make the attack tick.

James Rodriguez burst onto the international scene at the last World Cup. The attacking midfielder topped the scoring charts in Brazil. His performances influenced Real Madrid to pay £63 million for him. He has since moved to Bayern Munich, where he excelled last term. Rodriguez has 21 goals in 63 international tournaments. He will be counted on to create and score from the midfield.

Colombia’s biggest weakness could be in defence. Davinson Sanchez is still new to the senior national team. The Tottenham centre-back will be the anchor to the team’s defence. AC Milan’s 31-year-old Cristian Zapata will pair with Sanchez in central defence. Age could be an issue as defenders Oscar Murillo and Farid Diaz are also over 30.

Pekerman is an astute manager that is well versed in football tactics. Pekerman managed Argentina at the 2006 World Cup before moving into the club coaching ranks in Mexico. He then took over Colombia during 2014 World Cup qualifiers after the team’s two previous managers had been sacked. Pekerman led the national side into the tournament and has made Colombia a top South American team.

Colombia are a team full of stars and they are capable of repeating their feats from Brazil 2014. If Pekerman’s team get through Group H, the team will play a side from Group G in the knockout round. Belgium or England are the most likely teams to be waiting for Colombia in the round of 16. The quarterfinals would see a team from Group E or Group F waiting for them in the quarterfinals. Colombia could face off against Brazil for a second straight tournament in the last eight.

The Colombians are a very talented side. Colombia will need a bit of luck once they get to the knockout rounds when the competition gets more difficult, however.