Colombia - Team Profile

The loss of Rademel Falcao will hurt but Colombia have plenty of attacking talent and flair

Manager : José Pekerman

Best finish: Second round (1990)

World Cup record: P 19, W 8, D 2, L 9



On the one hand it is a surprise that Colombia have played the same amount of World Cup games as the Republic of Ireland (13), but it's hardly shocking considering the price paid for failure. In 1994, after his own-goal against hosts the USA contributed to Colombia's early elimination, defender Andres Escobar was gunned down . Their worst ever finish (21st) four years later didn't prompt similar reprisals but they haven't been back since, despite a world ranking high of fourth in 2002.


Colombia like the ball , and they can use it, too, with quick incisive midfielders, but Pekerman's modus operandi is fairly orthodox. With such talented strikers at his disposal, Teo Gutierrez and Jackson Martinez can help make up for the loss of Radamel Falcao. Full-backs offer width around a four-man midfield that allows James Rodriguez to roam.

All Star - James Rodriguez

In the absence of his unfortunate club-mate Radamel Falcao, whose fitness could not be guaranteed after a knee injury suffered in January, Monaco's Rodriguez could prove key for Colombia. Strikers Jackson Martinez and Teo Gutierrez will need to step up too, but the lively Rodriguez, who operates off the left and can pick defences apart between the lines, can come of age in Brazil and help negate the loss of El Tigre.

County Colours - Roscommon

Clad in yellow and blue, prone to disciplinary issues and the odd growhouse.

Pundit's corner - Giovanni Trapattoni: "If, eh, the Falcon return? They swoop, like eagle on lamp! No Falcon, no eagle and then . . . no lamp."


Falcao is a big loss but they can still top Group C ahead of Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan. Qualification saw them finish second to Argentina with the same amount of wins and fewer goals (13) conceded. There's no easy game in the second round with one from England, Uruguay or Italy on the horizon. Then it could be Brazil or Spain. They were dark horses for many but they've been banjaxed by a bockety knee.


Goalkeepers: 1 David Ospina (Nice/Fra), 12 Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe), 22 Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali).

Defenders: 2 Cristian Zapata (AC Milan/Ita), 3 Mario Yepes (Atalanta/Ita), 4 Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven/Ned), 7 Pablo Armero (Napoli/Ita), 16 Eder Alvarez-Balanta (River Plate/Arg), 18 Camilo Zuniga (Napoli/Ita), 23 Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia Union/USA on loan to San Lorenzo/Arg).

Midfielders: 5 Carlos Carbonero (River Plate/Arg), 6 Carlos Sanchez (Elche/Esp), 8 Abel Aguilar (Toulouse/Fra), 10 James Rodriguez (Monaco, Fra), 11 Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina/Ita), 13 Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan/Ita), 15 Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional), 20 Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto/Por).

Forwards:  9 Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate/Arg), 14 Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari/Ita), 17 Carlos Bacca (Sevilla/Esp), 19 Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund/Ger), 21 Jackson Martinez (Porto/Por).


COLOMBIA (v Greece): 1 David Ospina; 18 Camilo Zuniga, 2 Cristian Zapata, 3 Mario Yepes, 7 Pablo Armero (4 Santiago Arias, 74 mins); 8 Abel Aguilar (15 Alexander Mejia, 69 mins), 6 Carlos Sanchez (yc); 11 Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, 10 James Rodriguez, 14 Victor Ibarbo; 9 Teofilo Gutierrez (21 Jackson Martinez, 76 mins).

COLOMBIA (v Ivory Coast): 1 David Ospina; 18 Camilo Zuniga, 2 Cristian Zapata, 3 Mario Yepes, 7 Pablo Armero (4 Santiago Arias, 72 mins); 8 Abel Aguilar (15 Alexander Mejia, 79 mins), 6 Carlos Sanchez ; 11 Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (5 Carlos Carbonero, half-time), 10 James Rodriguez, 14 Victor Ibarbo (20 Juan Fernando Quintero, 53 mins); 9 Teofilo Gutierrez.

COLOMBIA (v Japan): 1 David Ospina (22 Faryd Mondragon, 85 mins); 4 Santiago Arias, 23 Carlos Valdes, 16 Eder Alvarez-Balanta, 7 Pablo Armero; 11 Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, 15 Alexander Mejia, 13 Fredy Guarin (yc), 20 Juan Fernando Quintero (10 James Rodriguez, half-time); 19 Adrian Ramos, 21 Jackson Martinez.

COLOMBIA (v Uruguay): 1 David Ospina; 18 Camilo Zuniga, 2 Cristian Zapata, 3 Mario Yepes, 7 Pablo Armero (yc);  8 Abel Aguilar, 6 Carlos Sanchez; 11 Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (13 Fredy Guarin, 81 mins), 10 James Rodriguez (19 Adrian Ramos, 85 mins); 9 Teofilo Gutierrez (15 Alexander Mejia, 68 mins),  21 Jackson Martinez.

COLOMBIA (v Brazil): 1 David Ospina; 18 Camilo Zuniga, 2 Cristian Zapata, 3 Mario Yepes (yc), 7 Pablo Armero; 11 Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (20 Juan Fernando Quintero, 80 mins), 13 Fredy Guarin, 6 Carlos Sanchez,14 Victor Ibarbo (19 Adrian Ramos, half-time); 10 James Rodriguez (yc), 9 Teofilo Gutierrez (17 Carlos Bacca, 70 mins).

Carl O'Malley

Carl O'Malley

The late Carl O'Malley was an Irish Times sports journalist