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FIFA World Cup team profile: Colombia hope to go one better

Colombia reached the quarter-final in Brazil four years ago and they will be hoping to do better at Russia with arguably a better squad.

football Updated: Jun 11, 2018 17:10 IST
James Rodriguez (in pic) won the Golden Boot four years ago and his partnership with Radamel Falcao will be key to Colombia’s hopes this time round.(AFP)

Head coach: Jose Pekerman

World Cup history: Qualified five times

Best: Quarterfinals in 2014

Qualifying route:Finished fourth in South American qualifiers

The ‘golden generation’ tag is a huge honour for any football team, but it also comes with a certain amount of extra pressure. However, with names like James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Juan Quintero leading the charge, the Colombian football team look more than capable to handle the magnanimity of a situation like the FIFA World Cup. Head coach Jose Pekerman has done a fine job till now and in Russia, the South American powerhouse will look to improve their the quarter-final result in the previous edition when they went down fighting to the hosts in a closely contested encounter.

Under Pekerman’s watchful eyes, Colombia ended their 16-year absence from the tournament and had their best ever performance in a World Cup at Brazil 2014. They won all three group matches and beat Uruguay 2-0 in the round of 16, before losing to hosts Brazil in the quarters. James Rodriguez was the star with six goals and he ended up winning the Golden Boot award for his efforts while his teammate - Juan Cuadrado - provided more assists than any other player in the competition.

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Four years later, the squad has not changed much but the players have much needed experience on their side. Pekerman has mainly used a 4-2-3-1 formation with Radamel Falcao as the sole strike rand the tight-pressing approach has worked wonders for Colombia. Although they had some hiccups on the way, Columbia were able to book their FIFA World Cup 2018 spot with 27 points in the qualifiers.

Squad: Goalkeepers: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Jose Fernando Cuadrado

Defenders: Cristian Zapata, Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias, Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra, Johan Mojica, Yerry Mina

Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma, Jose Izquierdo, James Rodriguez, Abel Aguilar, Mateus Uribe, Juan Fernando Quintero, Juan Cuadrado

Forwards: Radamel Falcao, Miguel Borja, Carlos Bacca, Luis Muriel

First Published: Jun 11, 2018 17:10 IST