Muriel included in Colombia squad for World Cup qualifiers

The young forward's impressive Serie A campaign has not gone unnoticed, as he is reunited with Under-20 companion James Rodriguez in the side to face Peru and Ecuador
Lecce striker Luis Muriel has been rewarded for his form over the 2011-12 campaign with a first inclusion in the senior Colombia squad, as Jose Pekerman's team for the upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers begins to take shape.

The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) confirmed a list of 15 players based in Europe and Mexico on Tuesday night via a press release published on their official website, and the biggest surprise was the presence of 21-year-old Muriel.

The former Deportivo Cali man, who is owned by Udinese but spent last season on loan with Lecce, is preferred to controversial Lanus forward Teofilo Gutierrez in Pekerman's first competitive squad.

Muriel may have the chance to recreate the explosive partnership with James Rodriguez, after the Porto man was also called up. The young pair scored seven goals between them in Colombia's Under-20 World Cup campaign of 2011, which ended at the quarter-final stage.

Pekerman elected to only include players whose league seasons have come to an end, which explains the absence of David Ospina, as the goalkeeper prepares for the conclusion of Ligue 1 with Nice. Ospina, as well as the contingent from the Colombian Liga Postobon, will be called up later.

The Cafeteros visit Peru on June 2 in their fourth match of the World Cup qualifying campaign, travelling to Quito seven days later to take on Ecuador.

Preliminary squad to face Peru and Ecuador:

Name Club
Luis Perea
Atletico Madrid
Mario Yepes
AC Milan
Pablo Armero
Cristian Zapata
Bernardo Espinosa
Racing Santander
Aquivaldo Mosquera
James Rodriguez
Fredy Guarin
Elkin Soto
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado Lecce
Aldo Ramirez
Radamel Falcao
Atletico Madrid
Luis Muriel
Adrian Ramos
Jackson Martinez Jaguares