Colombia: World Cup 2018 Preview

Colombia enter the World Cup with serious talent and could perhaps be considered a “dark horse” of the tournament. They got to the quarter finals of the World Cup in 2014 and they’re looking to build off what they accomplished.

This is Colombia’s sixth appearance in the World Cup. Their best finish was reaching the quarter finals in Brazil 2014.
They lie in Group H alongside Poland, Japan and Senegal. Im really looking forward to seeing this group as I think it is the most competitive group. You have Poland who are very strong, Senegal who have a few strong players as well and Japan who could cause a few shocks. Colombia will have to play good football and score lots of goals if they want to get out of their group.
Colombias opening game is against Japan on June 19th in the Mordovia Arena. That is followed up by a game against Poland on June 24th in the Kazan Arena. They face Sadio Mané’s Senegal in their final game of the group stage on June 28th in the Samara Arena.

Roster

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali), Iván Arboleda (Banfield), José Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas)
Defenders: Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Cristián Zapata (AC Milan), Santiago Arias (PSV), Farid Diaz (Olimpia Asuncion), Óscar Murillo (Pachuca), Johan Mojica (Girona)
Midfielders: Carlos Sánchez (Espanyol), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), James Rodríguez (Bayern Múnich), Abel Aguilar (Deportivo Cali), Mateus Uribe (América), Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado(Juventus), Wílmar Barrios (Boca Juniors)
Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Carlos Bacca (Villareal), Luís Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (Palmeiras), José Izquierdo (Brighton Hove & Albion)

The Curious Case of Andréas Escobar

During the 1994 World Cup, Colombia were playing the United States in their second game of the campaign. They needed to win this game to be within a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament. Defender Andreas Escobar infamously put the ball into his own net with United States winning the game 2-1, knocking Colombia out of the World Cup.
After the World Cup, Escobar decided to return to Colombia to visit family and friends. Five days after the elimination of Colombia, Escobar went out for the night with some friends. He didn’t know that this was the last night of his life. They went to a nightclub and shortly after his friends split up.At approximately 3am, he was alone in the carpark of the nightclub, in his car, when three men appeared to come in. They started arguing with him. Two of the men took out handguns. Andreas Escobar was shot six times with a .38 caliber pistol. It was reported that the killer shouted “Goal” every time he fired a bullet, once for each time the South American football commentator said it during the broadcast.
The group then drove away in a Toyota pickup truck leaving Escobar to bleed to death. He was rushed to hospital where he died 45 minutes later.
The murder was believed to be a punishment for the own goal. Escobars funeral was attended by more than 120,000 people. Every year people honour Escobar by bringing photographs of him to matches. In July 2002, the city of Medellín unveiled a statue in honour of his memory.

Coach: José Pékerman.

Pekérman has took charge of Colombia for the last six years. He previously managed Argentina, Toluca, Tigres UANL and Colombia (currently). He won under 20 World Titles in 1995,1997 and 2001. He brought the Argentina Senior team to the 2006 World Cup quarter finals, narrowly losing to hosts Germany in a penalty shootout.

Road to Russia

Colombia qualified for Russia using the CONMEBOL qualification group in South America. They finished fourth in their group, earning automatic qualification. They finished on 27 points behind third placed Argentina (28 points), then Uruguay (31 points) and Brazil (41 points) who topped the group.

Star Player

James Rodriguez has got to be Colombia’s best player. At 22, he ended up being the tournament’s top scorer and the leader of the best team Colombia has ever deployed at a World Cup. He plays in the number 10 role, supporting the striker. He is the playmaker of Colombia and also for his club, Bayern Munich. He played a big part in Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga success. Colombian fans will be expecting a lot of him in this World Cup.

Verdict

Colombia is looking sharp and fit ahead of this World Cup. I think they’ll make it of which a pretty tough group. I have Colombia to match their last World Cup with making it to the quarter finals.

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