Falcao fails to make Colombia cut for World Cup finals
Coral have lengthened the odds of Colombia winning the World Cup from 22/1 to 33/1, after injured star striker Radamel Falcao failed to make their final 23-man roster.
The Monaco frontman, 28, damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in January and, although doctors were confident he would recover, that prognosis proved too optimistic.
Colombia national coach Jose Pekerman has cut Falcao and six others, including former Atletico Madrid defender Luis Amaranto Perea and creative midfielder Macnelly Torres.
In the absence of Falcao, the goal-burden may be shared around several names. River Plate attacker Teofilo Gutierrez contributed six to the 15-strong partnership in the South American section of qualifying.
Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin, but joining Borussia Dortmund), Porto’s Jackson Martinez (the 3/1 favourite to be Colombia’s top scorer at the finals) and Carlos Bacca (Sevilla) all had encouraging club campaigns in front of goal. Cagliari forward Victor Ibarbo, recently linked in tabloid gossip columns with Newcastle United, will provide further backup.
Falcao’s Monaco colleague James Rodriguez and Fiorentina wideman Juan Guillermo Cuadrado also offer threat and provide supply from the wings. Colombia will be captained by veteran centre back Mario Yepes (Atalanta), who is closing in 100 caps.
AC Milan defender Cristian Zapata is set to partner him, with Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven) at right back and either West Ham loanee Pablo Armero or Juan Camilo Zuniga of Napoli on the other flank. Nice stopper David Ospina should start in goal ahead of veteran Faryd Mondragon, who will turn 43 during the Brazil finals.
Deep-lying midfield berths look set to go to Inter Milan player, and long-time reported Tottenham target, Fredy Guarin and Toulouse’s Abel Aguilar. Porto playmaker Juan Fernando Quintero should have a role as an impact sub.
Pekerman’s men remain the odds-on favourites to win Group C, which also contains Greece, the Ivory Coast and Japan, at 5/6 and qualify for the knockout phase at 1/4.
Final Colombia squad for the World Cup:
Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe)
Defenders: Mario Yepes (Atalanta), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Pablo Armero (West Ham, on loan from Napoli), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo)
Midfielders: Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional)
Forwards: Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate)