Consistency is needed
Colombia nicked a place at the World Cup after finishing fourth in the South American qualifying division behind winners Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Seven wins, six draws and five defeats means they must be far more consistent when it gets serious but they did do enough to hold off Chile who lost three of their last four.
In Russia La Tricolor will face Group H rivals Poland, Senegal and Japan – a very winnable pile. If they can hit the ground running there’s no reason fans won’t see Colombia in the knock-out stages of the fixture list and bookies are paying attention, offering no more than 50/1 on them lifting the trophy. A big price but some major firms have them much shorter with Betfred giving 28/1.
Jose Pekerman’s side conceded 19 goals during qualifying but did score 21 of their own and they’re sure to give armchair fans some entertaining matches this summer with plenty of excitement at both ends of the park.
Three Colombians you should know about…..
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Columbia will be entertaining
Colombia were involved in a thrilling friendly match with France earlier this year that produced a five-goal win. Les Bleus raced into a 2-0 lead with Giroud and Lemar on the scoresheet inside 26 minutes, but the togetherness of this team means they can never be written off and they turned the tables to win 3-2 thanks to strikes from Luis Muriel, Radamel Falcao and Juan Quintero, the match-winner coming from the penalty spot on 85 minutes.
Team captain Falcao kept his cool to score the all-important equaliser that day and played a huge part in rallying his troops when confidence was low at 2-0. He was also on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw with Brazil and 2-1 defeat to Paraguay recently and is a player who can be relied upon to grab the big goals against the major names on the world scene. There’s 80/1 on the Betfair Exchange in the top scorer market.
There’s real strength in depth in this squad going forward and it’ll be interesting to see who they partner with Falcao in attack, but we expect the experience of Carlos Bacca to shine through, a player who has seen it all and done it all before for his country. The 31-year-old has scored 14 goals in 44 call-ups and was spotted helping himself to one vs China in a 4-0 win late last year.
The Villarreal number nine has hit form in the second-half of the La Liga season and added confidence to his game when scoring three in three games recently. Pulling his weight in league, cup and even Europa League matches, he’ll jet to Russia confident of making an impact and he’s the kind of player that likes to get himself noticed. There’s goals in this team and Bacca will help himself to a fair share. As big as 175/1 with Paddy Power to top score but some firms prefer to keep him close, offering only 50/1.
If the strikers are to score the goals needed to extend Colombia’s summer holiday then they’ll need a man in behind pulling the strings, turning defence into attack and supplying the ammunition. That will be Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez, the 26-year-old who has scored 21 in 62 matches for his country. He’s also featured heavily for FCB this year and helped himself to a few, netting six in his first 21.
Rodriguez was on target for Colombia in a 1-1 draw with Peru in a World Cup qualifier with the attacking midfielder scoring the opener that day on 56 minutes before seeing that advantage pegged back by teammate David Ospina who knocked the ball into his own net later in the half.