It is a massive week for Colombian football. The nation knows that if they can get past England in the last 16 of the World Cup and book a place in the quarter-finals, then they can equal their all-time best showing at the biggest tournament in world football. That was achieved in the last World Cup in Brazil in 2014. They were ultimately eliminated by the hosts 2-1 in the final eight, but this time around face a showdown with either Sweden or Switzerland if they can get past Gareth Southgate’s men. If they are to achieve that, then of course the defence will have to be at their best to frustrate the Three Lions’ forward line. That makes it neatly time to name this week’s best defender, and it is none other than the South Americans’ Yerry Mina.
After having an impressive and memorable campaign in the previous World Cup despite being knocked out in the Quarter-finals by Brazil, Colombia will be looking to have a good run in the competition once again as the whole nation will behind them as well as many football fans.
This year’s friendly matches have been more than positive for the side, where they achieved an incredible comeback over France as well as two stalemates against the likes of Australia and Egypt. The goalless draws against the latter opponents may be seen as a downfall, on the other hand, it certainly shows that Colombia can remain dominant and defensively solid when needed to be.
We now look more into the information we need to know about Colombia on and off the pitch…
Tuesday, 19th June – Colombia vs Japan (Mordovia Arena, Mordovia) kick-off 13:00pm
Sunday, 24th June – Poland vs Colombia (Kazan Arena, Kazan) kick-off 19:00pm
Thursday, 28th June – Senegal vs Colombia (Samara Arena, Samara) kick-off 15:00pm
Considered as one of the best attacking midfielders within Europe, it’s no surprise at all that James Rodriguez is seen as Colombia’s main man as he is levels ahead of his team-mates. The Bayern Munich midfielder, who is currently on loan from Real Madrid, offers a lot when he is in the starting line-up, from producing clear-cut chances for the attackers to racking up many goals and assists himself. The 26-year-old is regarded as an aesthetically pleasing player to watch on and off the ball.
The one to keep an eye out for…
Davinson Sanchez is surely the well-known rising talent within the Colombia squad that everyone needs to keep a look out for, someone who has had the perfect debut season at Tottenham Hotspur and is now been thought of as one of the best centre-backs within the Premier League. With his demanding and dominant displays from the backline week in and out, the youngster could become a popular figure for his country if he can go on to replicating his club performances for Colombia.
Given the attacking prowess that Colombia have in Carlos Bacca, Falcao, James Rodriguez and Luis Muriel, it’s more than important that the side’s defence and midfield can also remain compact and consistent through the competition. This is one of the reasons to why it is ideal to keep an eye out for Davinson Sanchez, as he has a huge job on his hands that will need to be dealt with effectively.
What to expect from manager Jose Pekerman?
Since taking over as the national coach of Colombia, Jose Pekerman has done a very good job in taking the country to two consecutive World Cups, proving that his man-management and vital decision making of picking individuals that fit into his system is quite efficient. Also, the Argentine has won the South American Coach of the Year award on three occasions over the last six years.
Los Cafeteros are expected to play within a 4-2-3-1 setup, where the team would benefit from the movement and pace of Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca on the flanks whilst James will look to drop deep from the number ten role as well as provide some service to the lone forward in Radamel Falcao. Overall, Peckerman is seen as a saviour for Colombian football as the supporters from the South American country are finally seeing some golden stars being produced after quite a long time.
How far can Colombia go in the competition?
It’s never easy to say how far a team can go in the World Cup as it does come down to little moments as well as a bit of luck, on the other hand, Colombia are more than capable of reaching the Quarter-finals like they did four years ago in Brazil. The side’s results in recent years against top-tier oppositions are not convincing at all, but they will still be seen as the dark horses of the tournament.
In the end, Colombia have pure potential and will either collapse absurdly or deliver in perfect time.
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As Premier League clubs continue to rally the troops and reinforce their squads before the transfer window slams shut in just over a week’s time, one club to have been hugely criticised during the current period of business has been Tottenham Hotspur.
Last season’s runners-up could be forgiven for being happy with their squad of course – they finished second by a very comfortable margin to the tune of eight points ahead of bronze medallists Man City. However, every club around the top of the table have brought plenty more bodies in – while Spurs haven’t set the world on fire at all in their dealings so far. Continue reading