Colombia World Cup Preview

Having reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, and ranked as the 16th best national side in the world,  Colombia will be heading into Russia this summer with the intention of challenging the very best.

The high hopes of this nation rest on a myriad of talent, notably the former Red Devil, Radamel Falcao, and the golden boot winner from the previous World Cup and Bayern Munich midfielder, James Rodriguez.
In Brazil, Colombia won all three of their group matches in Rio, beating Greece 3-0, Ivory Coast 2-1 and Japan 4-1. 

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. 

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Colombia’s final 23-man squad has it all
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.

Possible starting XI: Colombia vs. Japan

David Ospina
Davinson Sanchez
Santiago Arias 
 Frank Fabra 
Yerry Mina 

James Rodriguez
Juan Cuadrado
Jefferson Lerma 
 Jose Izquierdo 

Radamel Falcao
Luis Fernando Muriel


David Ospina
Image: 90Min

Davinson Sanchez

Image: Zimbio
Juan Cuadrado


James Rodriguez


Radamel Falcao

Image: Evening Standard


Colombia will be one of several underdog teams in Russia at the 2018 World Cup. Their relatively open group balances out with a tricky route from then on. The possibility of facing either Belgium or England may be a daunting prospect, yet it is not an impossible task.

They will began this tournament playing against Japan on Tuesday June 19. Four years ago Colombia beat Japan 4-1 and so will head into that match as favourites with the hope

Their second group game is five days later against Poland on Sunday June 24. This will be most likely their hardest opposition as Poland’s side hosts formidable names, notably James Rodriguez’s Bayern Munich compatriot, Robert Lewandowski. Colombia do have the resources to grind out a win but this game will probably end in a draw.

Senegal will be Colombia’s final opponents for Group H on Thursday June 28. The African side comprises of numerous familiar names: their most popular being Liverpool’s prolific forward, Sadio Mane, who scored in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in May. Senegal’s attacking potency may prove a strong threat to Colombia but overall they should be looking for a win and another 3 points from this game.


Colombia are a fantastic side and will be looking to show that they are not here to make up the numbers but are serious contenders. It is important not to write them off as they did reach the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. However, if Colombia top or finish second in their group they will then play either Belgium (ranked 3rd) or England (ranked 12th) in the Round of 16. On paper, both of the potential opposition are stronger than Colombia and so as a prediction Colombia will top their group but lose in the Round of 16. 

Group H: 
1. Colombia [7 points]
2. Poland [7 points]
3. Senegal [3 points]
4. Japan [0 points]

Round of 16:
1. Colombia vs. Belgium (3-1 Belgium)
2. Colombia vs. England (2-1 England)

Author: TUD Author