Discussing Colombia’s chances at the World Cup 0

Every World Cup, there are always players who cross-over from being hipster-favourites to a household names, and Brazil 2014 will presumably be no different.

The winners of the competition will almost certainly be one of either Spain or Brazil, but there are some are dark horses in this tournament who could either go a very long way or who could implode spectacularly. Belgium, purely on the strength of their team-sheet, should do well, Switzerland could be surprisingly competitive, and the Japanese are also a progressive force in world football.

For pure entertainment, however, maybe Colombia are the team to watch this Summer.

When you think of Los Cafeteros’ World Cup campaigns in the modern era, it’s sadly impossible to forget 1994 and the murder of Andres Escobar. The tragic events which occurred post-elimination will always eclipse what a good team that really was, and the mid-tournament threats which were made against the squad and their families prevented Valderrama, Rincon, Asprilla, Valencia and co from showing their true worth in the USA.  Nevertheless, the deserve to be remembered as one of the finest South-American sides of the 1990s.

ESPN’s peerless The Two Escobars from their 30 for 30 series is a must-watch for an insight into the extraordinary circumstances that caused that team’s implosion.

Fast forward two decades, and Colombia have a national team which isn’t as talented, but should provoke similar optimism. Radamel Falcao is probably going to be missing, but Jose Pekerman will still have a flair-heavy squad containing Fredy Guarin, James Rodriguez, Sevilla’s bullish forward Carlos Bacca, gossip-column favourite Jackson Martinez, and Fiorentina’s sensational Juan Cuadrado.

In Falcao’s absence, Cuadrado is really the stand-out and the one whose value could rise exponentially with a good showing. He’s been a stand-out in Serie A this season, but Italian football’s general devaluation and a lack of Champions League exposure has denied him the acclaim that he probably deserves. His feet are dazzling, he can create from a variety of attacking positions, and there’s every reason to believe that he can be a star within a relatively weak Group C and beyond.

The obvious problem with Colombia is their defence, and that is the Achilles Heel which will eventually be taken advantage of, but they should be very fun to watch for as long as they remain in the tournament.

Follow @premleagueowl

Free £25 bet for new users with William Hill.