Colombia: World Cup team profile

After a 16 year gap, Colombia is back and planning to make a big statement at a South American World Cup.

A nation desperate to live up to its lofty world ranking

Colombia is returning to the World Cup after a 16-year absence. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

After a 16 year gap, Colombia is back and planning to make a big statement at a South American World Cup. With a veteran coach at the helm it is full steam ahead for a nation missing its star man but desperate to live up to its lofty world ranking 

The Star

Without the injured Radamel Falcao, the spotlight falls on James Rodriguez to deliver. The 22 year old versatile midfielder can play as a traditional number 10 or attack from either flank. Rodriguez’  playmaking abilities have drawn comparisons to Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama

Road to Rio

Highly impressive. Falcao’s nine goals led Colombia through a comfortable campaign and qualification was assured with a game to spare. The team also boasted the best defence -- conceding only 13 goals in 16 matches finishing second to Argentina in the final standings.  

Fast Facts

  • World Cup Group: C
  • Nickname: Los Cafeteros
  • Manager: Jose Pekerman
  • Captain: Mario Yepes
  • FIFA World Ranking: 8
  • Best World Cup Result: Round of 16, 1990
  • Qualification Method: 2nd in CONMEBOL Qualifying standings

How they Fared in 2010

Did Not Qualify (Colombia’s last World Cup appearance was in 1998).

Fixtures

Group C

  • Saturday June 14 -- Colombia vs. Greece, Noon ET
  • Thursday June 19 -- Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, Noon ET
  • Tuesday June 24 -- Japan vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. ET

Outlook

Cautiously optimistic. Jose Pekerman’s steady and experienced hand has transformed Colombia’s fortunes over the last two years. As a result the South Americans are seeded in a group from which they should advance. Continental rivals Uruguay could be waiting in the round of 16 in what would surely be an intense struggle. Falcao’s absence is a major blow but Colombia has had time to adjust to life without its star striker.

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