In Russia, Colombia will be playing in Group H alongside Poland, Senegal and Japan. In what is arguably the hardest group to predict the outcome, the South American side will fancy their chances of progressing. This team will be looking to draw upon their experience and realistically should be aiming to top their group. It will be interesting to follow their journey during this tournament as they may find themselves playing England should they get through.
|Image: Twitter @FCFSeleccionCol|
In goal, Colombia can call upon Arsenal’s David Ospina, Camilo Vargas of the Spanish side Deportivo Cali or Jose Fernando Cuadrado who plays his club football at Once Caldas.
Starting XI: David Ospina started for Colombia against Egypt on Friday June 1 in the friendly against Egypt. He is likely to retain his place at their first-choice goalkeeper given his decent season for Arsenal, playing in the EFL and FA Cup.
For defence, Colombia have taken the 31 year-old Cristian Zapata from AC Milan, Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, Pachua’s Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra from Boca Juniors, John Mojica and Yerry Mina from Spanish sides Girona and Barcelona
Starting XI: Against Egypt, Colombia’s back four were Santiago Arias, Yerry Mina, Davinson Sanchez and Frank Fabra. Manager José Pékerman will not want to chop and change his defence too much and so a guaranteed starter is Davinson Sanchez. At his young age of 21, Sanchez has shown brilliant composure playing for Spurs.
Colombia’s quality shines through when analysing their options in midfield: Wilmar Barrios from Boca Juniors, Espanyol’s Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma who also plays his club football in Spain for Levante, the promising Jose Izquierdo from Brighton, Deportivo Cali’s Abel Aguilar, Mateus Uribe who plays for America and Juan Fernando Quintero from River Plate. Completing the midfield choices are the formidable Juan Cuadrado who plays for Juventus and the 2014 World Cup golden boot winner James Rodriguez who plays in Germany with Bayern Munich.
Starting XI: Pékerman opted for a five-man midfield against the Egyptians; starting with Jefferson Lerma, Carlos Sanchez, Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Mateus Uribe. Cuadrado and Rodriguez are definitely starting though it would also be good to see Jose Izquierdo find his way into the side against Japan. For the first game, it makes more sense to start with two forwards so one midfielder may have to be sacrificed.
Upfront, Colombia will rely on Miguel Borja from Palmeiras and Sevilla’s Luis Fernando Muriel. The quality of experienced strikers Carlos Bacca, who now plays for Vilarreal and captain Radamel Falcao, now at Monaco, will be critical.
Starting XI: As previously mentioned, Pékerman may want to alter his approach against Japan by playing with two strikers as opposed to one. Falcao will definitely start, but it is rather a question of who will play alongside him if the manager opts to start with two forwards.