Friday night's home game against Chile was supposed to be Colombia's party night as they only needed a draw to book their place at their first World Cup finals since 1998. After half an hour, however, Colombia were 3-0 down and a party looked unlikely.

Yet the Colombians mounted a mammoth second-half comeback to claim a 3-3 draw at the Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez and will join Brazil and Argentina as part of the South American contingent for next year's tournament.

It all started so well for Chile, however, with Juventus' Aturo Vidal sending the keeper the wrong way to slot home a 19th minute penalty. Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez then scored twice in ten minutes to give the visitors a 3-0 lead and it looked like it would in fact be Chile celebrating World Cup qualification by the end of the 90 minutes.

Half time came and went and on 66 minutes it still looked like Chile's game to lose. And that's exactly what they did, thanks largely to Carlos Carmona picking up a second yellow card and leaving his teammates a man down.

Teofilo Gutierrez made the most of the man advantage to pull back a goal from the resulting free-kick, with his shot somehow finding its way past a number of Chilean bodies in the penalty area.

It was then up to Monaco's pricey summer signing, Radamel Falcao, to take all the headlines as he kept his cool to fire home two late penalties in the 75th and 84th minutes. The equaliser sent the stadium into a frenzy and proved exactly why this Colombian side must be considered contenders for next summer's big event.

As bad as the first half performance was, it takes a very strong and special team effort to mount a second half comeback to a three goal deficit. And that is exactly what Colombia managed thanks in a large part to Falcao's Monaco teammate James Rodriguez' fantastic performance.

The Colombian's will also have a slight advantage with the fact that the tournament is being played in their own continent and with less pressure on their shoulders than there is for some European sides and the hosts, they could be a real dark horse, especially with more spirited performances like the one we witnessed last night.

As for Chile, things don't look too bad. Despite giving up their three goal lead, a draw away to the Colombians is still a fantastic result. And with Uruguay losing to Ecuador, the Chileans look set to seal their own spot on Tuesday night should they take anything from their game with Ecuador or if Uruguay fail to beat Argentina.

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Topics:
#World Cup
#Internationals
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