Last Thursday Colombia were within four minutes of qualification for the World Cup, before David Ospina and Cristian Zapata timed a set piece from the halfway line completely wrong and Paraguay went on to hold off Colombia’s World Cup dreams for the moment, but there is another chance. “They must play and chase the game because they need the victory and maybe the draw won’t be enough for them, this is where Colombia must have patience and look for spaces”, he said.
Colombia’s national soccer team faces a showdown with neighbors Peru on Tuesday in Lima to decide its fate in qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in Russian Federation.
However, while they may have held out for a first clean sheet in 10 qualification matches in their last outing in Argentina, La Blanquirroja can not afford to sit back and defend in a potentially must-win clash in front of their own fans.
If Los Cafeteros make it this time around, they will have managed to come full circle – and are no longer the small footballing country made popular by the shaggy haired Carlos Valderrama.
In qualifying for the competition – 28 years ago by the time Russian Federation rolls around – the Colombians reached their first World Cup for the first time since 1962 (28 years). Peru have won two of their last three games and drew in Argentina, however, so can’t be underestimated. The experienced centre back, who didn’t play his best game for Colombia against Paraguay last week, picked up a yellow card and is suspended.
Peru revolve around former Bayern Munich striker Paolo Guerrero.
The veteran coach came in for widespread criticism following his side’s failure to close out a 1-0 lead in the final minutes against Paraguay with one Argentine commentator labeling his compatriot and the team the “most fainthearted in Latin America”.
Chile’s World Cup fate will also be decided on Tuesday and final match day for Russian Federation 2018. Three wins in the last four rounds over Uruguay and Bolivia with a 2: 1 home record, Ecuador with the same result on a away visit and a draw on the road with Argentina – 0: 0, quickly raised the team to the number of applicants for a trip to Russian Federation. If only one of the three results from Paraguay, Chile and Argentina happens, a draw is enough for Colombia to scrape direct qualification to Russian Federation.
This combination of results would still not be good enough for automatic qualification but would see Colombia face into a play-off in November against New Zealand.
Colombia is located one position higher.
Can Colombia secure their second World Cup qualification in a row or will Los Cafeteros crash out in Lima?