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Considering the rich depth of talent in the squad, the pessimism and apathy with which the Colombian national side travelled to Argentina is surprising. Players who have excelled in Europe have still to convince domestic supporters that they can reproduce their form at international level; but this lack of expectation will only make them more dangerous.

The defence looks rock-solid with quality Serie A players such as Mario Yepes, Pablo Armero and Cristian Zapata anchoring the side, and there is talent to spare in a frightening forward line. Coach Hernan Gomez will have to figure out how to harness this quality and ensure that his strikers get the chances to do damage, something which the 55-year-old so far has not been able to do. Nevertheless, a second-placed finish in Group A is well within reach, and after that they will not be an easy prospect for any team in the knock-out stages.


  PLAYER TO WATCH


Radamel Falcao

The Porto forward enjoys brilliant technical ability, and also excels with both feet as well as his head. Blessed with speed and balance, he knows exactly where the goal is and can strike fear into the hearts of the defence and goalkeeper when he starts striding forward with the ball at his feet.

With the Portuguese club, he has notched up 63 goals, making him the highest-ever Colombian goalscorer on the old continent. The 2010-11 season also saw him overtake Jurgen Klinsmann as the top-scorer in a single Uefa Cup/Europa League campaign, all of which makes him a fearsome attacking threat.


COPA AMERICA HISTORY

  • Best position: Champions (2001)
  • Biggest victory: 5-0 vs Argentina, World Cup Qualifiers 1993
  • Biggest defeat: 9-0 vs Brazil, 1957

HOW THEY PLAY

The team directed by Hernan Dario 'Bolillo' Gomez features a miserly tactical set-up, a 4-1-4-1 formation valuing defensive stability over the maximum use of the side's undoubted attacking talent. This is confirmed by the chronic lack of goals in recent matches, including a 0-0 draw against Ecuador. The Seleccion is currently in a phase of development and growing maturity, rediscovering a playing identity that has not been present for some time.

The talented players are there, and they are capable of doing serious damage to any defence. However, the biggest defect in this team is the lack of service that the forwards suffer throughout a game. Football is won by scoring and with this tactical diagram, Colombia are far from able to execute this, despite quality attackers such as Falcao and Hugo Rodallega.

THE SQUAD
                                        
Name Position Age Club
David Ospina
Goalkeeper 22
Niza
Luis Martinez
Goalkeeper 28 Once Caldas
Brenier Castillo
Goalkeeper 33 DIM
Mario Yepes
Defender 35
AC Milan
Aquivaldo Mosquera
Defender 30
Club America
Luis Perea
Defender 32 Atletico Madrid
Cristian Zapata
Defender 24 Udinese
Pablo Armero
Defender 24 Udinese
Juan Zuniga
Defender 25 Napoli
Yulian Anchico
Defender 27 Pachuca
Juan Valencia
Defender 25 Junior
Gustavo Bolívar
Midfield 26 Deportes Tolima
Juan Cuadrado
Midfield 23
Udinese
Elkin Soto
Midfield 30
Mainz
Abel Aguilar
Midfield 26
Hercules
Freddy Guarín
Midfield 24
Porto
Carlos Sánchez
Midfield 25
Valenciennes FC
Hugo Rodallega
Forward 25
Wigan
Radamel Falcao
Forward 25
Porto
Adrián Ramos
Forward 25
Hertha Berlin
Dayro Moreno
Forward 25
Once Caldas
Jackson Martinez
Forward 24
Jaguares
Teofilo Gutierrez
Forward 26
Racing Club (ARG)

ALL-TIME LEGEND

Carlos 'El Pibe' Valderrama

The brilliant playmaker was the star of the Colombian side that played in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He was also the principle architect of the side's biggest-ever win over Argentina, 5-0 in the Estadio Monumental on an unforgettable day back in 1993.

'El Pibe' was far from a dynamic player, with some swearing that he never ran on the pitch, but he did not need to. His pace could be found in his football brain, which always produced the perfect pass to release forwards clear against the goalkeeper. He made the difficult look mundanely simple. Valderrama left the Colombian national team after France '98, and his like has never been seen again.

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Most Discussed
Top Scorers
Player Goals Penalties
Radamel Falcao Radamel Falcao
Striker
AS Monaco
11 4
Teófilo Gutiérrez Teófilo Gutiérrez
Striker
River Plate
6 0
James Rodríguez James Rodríguez
Midfielder
AS Monaco
4 1
Mario Yepes Mario Yepes
Defender
Atalanta
2 0
Pablo Armero Pablo Armero
Defender
West Ham
1 0