Here’s why Colombia are genuine World Cup contenders this summer
Can Pekerman’s side go all the way?
After a hugely unlucky quarter-final exit in Brazil four years ago, Colombia are bidding for World Cup glory once again this summer.
Jose Pekerman’s side aren’t amongst the favourites in the odds, with 40/1 for Colombia to win the tournament. However, the Coral News Team think the South American outfit could exceed expectations this summer. Here’s why…
Attacking talents with big-stage pedigree
The fact that Pekerman has left the likes of Teo Gutierrez and Yimmi Chara at home this summer speaks volumes for the attacking talent he’s had to choose from.
On the plane are a revitalised Radamel Falcao – who scored 24 goals for Monaco last term – as well as AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca and pacy Sevilla forward Luis Muriel.
But not only are Colombia blessed with a wealth of talent, they’ve also got players with experience of winning major honours.
Falcao has been a league winner in four countries, also lifting the Europa League with FC Porto and Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile, Bacca enjoyed successive UEL triumphs at Sevilla. As for Miguel Borja, he has a Copa Libertadores win on his CV.
Well-balanced backline offer steel and creativity
Another thing Perkman has at his disposal is a remarkably well-balanced defence. At a tournament where the favourites – Brazil, Germany et al. – are mostly based on a lethal midfield and attack, Colombia’s backline could be their biggest asset of all.
At centre-back, they have the pacy and physically imposing duo of Davinson Sanchez and Barcelona’s Yerry Mina.
Meanwhile, on the flanks, Los Cafeteros have players who are defensively reliable and vital coming forward. Boca Juniors left-back Frank Fabra has bagged six goals and eight assists in his 58 club outings.
On the other side, Santiago Arias can whip in a lethal cross and is surprisingly good in the air for his height.
Add some decent cover at centre-half, and you have one of the best defences in Russia this summer.
This year’s draw has favoured them
While Group H isn’t quite a gimme for Los Cafeteros, they shouldn’t have too much trouble winning the group at odds of 5/4.
Poland are a decent side – albeit rather leaky at the back. But the other two teams are both likely to be tournament also-rans.
Senegal topped a pretty weak CAF qualification group, while Japan arrive at the tournament in the lowly position of 61st in the FIFA world rankings.
Win the group, and they’re likely to face Belgium or England in the last-16. Neither of those sides have impressed at a European Championship or World Cup in recent times, and are both beatable for a side of Colombia’s quality.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing