Colombia looking to show the World what they can do
World Cup 2014: Colombia's new generation filled with talent are ready for Brazil next summer
With the 2014 World Cup next summer set for Brazil, its another South American side that have been making a big impression in qualification.
Colombia came back from 3-0 down against Chile on Friday to draw 3-3 to secure their qualification for the World Cup.
With many of their players playing in big leagues in Europe, Colombia will feel they have a chance to upset the odds next summer.
James Rodriquez and Radamel Falcao both made big money moves to AS Monaco in the summer, and both are key players for the national side.
Falcao is one of the most prolific strikers in European football having had very successful spells with FC Porto and Atletico Madrid, before making the move to the high spending French outfit.
Falcao is a player of real world-class ability, and Colombia will feel if their talisman delivers the goods that they have a real chance of not only being able to compete well next summer, but go the whole way and become world champions.
While many people will feel they will be brushed aside, I think Colombia have enough quality to win the World Cup. With the experienced Jose Pekerman in charge, Colombia have become a well drilled outfit who are tight at the back and do not concede many goals.
Along with Falcao they have the in-form Jackson Martinez of FC Porto. Martinez has scored an incredible 33 goals for the Portuguese champions in 37 games. A powerful, athletic striker Martinez and Falcao have what it takes to finish any team off.
Behind the strike force, a lot is depended on James Rodriguez to set up chances and make things happen. A very talented individual, Rodriguez has a great ability of finding space between opposition defences and midfields to allow himself the room he needs to craft an opening.
Juan Fernando Quintero is one of the hottest young footballers in Europe at the minute, applying his trade with FC Porto. Quintero moved to Portugal in the summer following a very impressive loan spell at the Italian side Pescara last season.
Quintero - who has been linked with Manchester United - is an attacking midfield player who oozes class and has all the capabilities of becoming a real world-class talent. Well able to beat opponents, Quintero is highly regarded as the future of Colombian football.
Juan Cuadrado and Fredy Guarin are two workmen-like midfielders, with great engines. Cuadrado, of Fiorentina, is a versatile player with real pace while Guarin, of Inter Milan, is the grafter in the middle of the park with great strength and reading of the game, Guarin also has an eye for a goal.
At 37 years old, Mario Yepes captains the side from the back. A journeyman of the game, Yepes is a real leader to a relatively young and inexperienced Colombian side. Playing in Serie A with Atlanata, Yepes' reading of the game and organisation of the side are vitally important.
Christian Zapata of AC Milan, partners Yepes at the heart of the defence. Zapata is a very athletic player with pace and the mind to match. Juan Zuniga and Pablo Armero, both of Napoli, are reliable full backs with a real desire to get further up the pitch and help in an attacking sense.
David Ospina of Nice in France is the number one goalkeeper, a player with good pedigree and talent. While no doubt the talent is their to cause an upset, a lot will depend on the tactics of Colombia and their mindset.
If Colombia sit back and base their play on the opposition, they may be brushed over. However, if Colombia play with the belief that they can achieve something and play to their strengths, I believe they have what it takes to overcome the odds and win.
While there are many other talented nations competing, Colombia are in with a chance. The fact the tournament is in South America helps them as they play better in South America rather than away from home.
Previously when things were expected from Colombian national sides, most notably in USA 1994 when they were tipped as favourites to win the World Cup and went out in the group stages, they have failed to deliver.
If the defensive unit stays tight and hard to break down, and Falcao is on form, who knows that may happen.
Colombian football is on the up again, and may just be ready to show the rest of the world what they're capable of. A dream dreamed from Bogota all around the nation, has a chance to become a reality next July in Rio de Janeiro.
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