Originally featured on the TalkingTikiTaka – WC2014 Blog
Despite being sidelined for most of the season with a serious knee injury in his first season in Ligue 1, Monaco striker Radamel Falcao is in a race against time to be fit in time for Colombia’s world cup campaign. Many had cast doubt on whether the £51M striker would play any part in this summer’s tournament but recent reports have suggested that his rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament damage has been much quicker than many expected and therefore he has been named in Jose Pekerman’s 30 man provisional squad. Colombia head into this Summer’s tournament ranked 5th in FIFA’s world rankings and are favourites with many bookmakers to top Group C where they will face competition from Ivory Coast, Japan and Greece. Consequently with such a large expectation from many, it will be interesting to see how Colombia will fare should Falcao not be ready in time for the tournament as being able to field a player of Falcao’s calibre would seemingly dent their chances of any success in Brazil.
In the event of Falcao missing the tournament due to injury, Colombia arguably own one of the strongest set of striking options out of all 32 countries competing in this summers competition, being able to call on the likes of hotshot Adrian Ramos who has been prolific for Hertha Berlin and recently earned a transfer to Borussia Dormund, Carlos Bacca whose goals have helped Sevilla on their way to Europa League success and also Jackson Martinez of FC Porto who is regularly linked with a big money move away from Portugal after impressing for Porto on several occasions. All eyes will also be on James Rodriguez, coincidentally another Colombian who made the transition from FC Porto to AS Monaco just as Falcao did, after a very impressive season which culminated in the inclusion of the £38.5M midfielder into the Ligue 1 team of the season. Another notable inclusion is that of Eder Alvarez Balanta, the highly sought after young River Plate central defender who will certainly be on the radar of many of Europe’s top teams and they will be keeping a close eye on his progress throughout the tournament.
The Colombia 30 man provisional squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe).
Defenders: Mario Yepes (AC Milan), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Pablo Armero (West Ham, on loan from Napoli), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Aquivaldo Mosquera (Club America), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Luis Amaranto Perea (Cruz Azul), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo).
Midfielders: Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Macnelly Torres (Al Shabab), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Edwin Valencia (Fluminense), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional), Elkin Soto (Mainz).
Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Luis Fernando Muriel (Udinese), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate).