FIFA World Cup Special : Team talk – Colombia looking to emulate their exploits from 4 years back

Colombia have a strong lineup and favorite to make it to the knockouts from a competitive Group.

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We conclude our “Team Talks” for Group H of the FIFA World Cup 2018, with high-flying Colombia.

Team: COLOMBIA

Coach: Jose Pekerman
Captain: Radamel Falcao
Nickname(s): Los Cafeteros
Last Qualified in 2014
Result in 2014: Last 8 (5th overall)
Qualified as: CONMEBOL Round Robin 4th Place
Previous World Cup Appearances: (5 Times) 1962, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2014.
Best World Cup Finals Result: Quarter Finals in 2014.

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Final Squad:

David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Jose Fernando Cuadrado; Cristian Zapata, Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias, Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra, Johan Mojica, Yerry Mina; Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma, Jose Izquierdo, James Rodriguez, Abel Aguilar, Juan Fernando Quintero, Mateus Uribe, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado; Radamel Falcao Garcia, Miguel Borja, Carlos Bacca, Luis Fernando Muriel.

Key Players:

1) David Ospina: 

The Arsenal keeper will once again be keeping the goal for the South Americans. The most capped Colombian goalkeeper in history will look to recreate his good club form in Russia.

2) Cristian Zapata: 

The AC Milan defender is the most experienced Colombian defender in the current squad. The 31-year old will be in charge of providing leadership to the Colombian back-line.

3) Carlos Sanchez:

The 32-year old is one of the most experienced players in the current squad. The Fiorentina midfielder will be Colombia’s key in the defensive third.

4) Juan Cuadrado: 

The Juventus winger was the player with the most assists in the 2014 World Cup. Once again Jose Pekerman will be looking towards him to provide final passes for the forwards to score.

5) James Rodriguez:

The 26-year old was the Golden Boot winner in 2014. The Bayern Munich attacking midfielder have matured a lot more in the last 4 years and will hope to be more lethal for Los Cafeteros this time around.

6) Radamel Falcao:

The Colombian captain missed out on the 2014 World Cup after an unfortunate injury forced him to be sidelined for months. The highest ever Colombian scorer is back this year and will surely look to make amends for last time’s absence.

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Recent Form:

The Colombians have been in mixed form in recent times, winning 5 of their last 13 internationals, while drawing 6 times and losing twice. Their last win came against France in a March friendly.

Group matches:

Colombia have been drawn in Group D alongside Japan, Poland, and Senegal. They will play Japan in their opening match on 19th of June, followed by Poland and Senegal on 24th and 28th June respectively.

Prediction:

After a strong show last time around, the Colombians will be the favorites to progress from their very competitive Group H. Colombia may again reach as much as the quarterfinals this time around.

Trivia:

Veteran Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon became the oldest player in the history of the FIFA World Cup at 43 years and 3 days old when he came on in the last group match against Japan in 2014.
(However, his record is under threat and is likely to be broken by Egyptian custodian Essam El-Hadary, who is scheduled to make his World Cup debut at the age of 45 years in Russia.)

How far do you think Colombia will progress this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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