Connect with us


What next for hipsters’ post-World Cup favourites, Colombia?

With no competitive fixtures for almost a year, the post-World Cup period is a perfect opportunity for South American nations to assess, experiment and in some cases, rebuild in preparation for the next qualification campaign. Tom Robinson takes a look at the future of the Colombian side that we recently witnessed at the FIFA World Cup.

Colombia captured the hearts of fans worldwide with their delightful run to a historic first quarter final in Brazil.  With golden boot winner James Rodriguez at the forefront of a dynamic Cafatero outfit, pre-tournament worries about the loss of star striker Falcao were firmly put to one side as Jose Pekerman’s men brushed aside Japan, Greece and Ivory Coast in the group stage, before cruising past Uruguay and eventually narrowly succumbing to hosts Brazil in a heated affair in Fortaleza.

Pekerman Balanta

Naturally hopes will be high that Colombia can kick from here.  Their squad will not require major renovation and the core of the group should be, in theory, reaching or at its prime.  Next World Cup could be a last hurrah for this talented generation but with two Copa Americas in the next two years they have excellent opportunity to win some silverware.

Further Reading

Colombia’s Original Golden Generation

Eder Alvarez Balanta’ Scout Report

Perhaps the most pressing issue to be addressed is how to rejuvenate the centre of their defence, particularly the daunting task of replacing Mario Yepes.  Cristian Zapata will remain but the likes of Perea and Mosquera, already 35 and 33 respectively, will probably be slowly phased out, and thus plenty of spots are up for grabs.

The prime candidate for a spot alongside Zapata will be River Plate’s promising centre back, Eder Alvarez Balanta.  The 21-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise, making his debut in April 2013 to earning a place at the World Cup just 14 months later.  Strong, quick across the ground, left-footed and good in the air, Balanta has all the traits to become a fantastic defender and could go on to be Colombia’s first choice for the next decade.   However, with just 4 caps to his name, it will be a steep learning curve for the youngster as he looks to quickly gain experience at international level.

There is also strength in depth.  Stefan Medina, 22, moved to Mexican side Monterrey after making over 100 appearances for Atletico Nacional, winning six titles during his spell in Medellin and has been on the fringes of the national team set up recently.  Compared to Andres Escobar in style and appearance, Medina is equally adept at right back and his versatility could stand him in good stead for a place in the squad.  Former U20 captain Pedro Franco, currently at Besiktas, is another interesting option who, along with Granada’s uncapped 22-year-old Jeison Murillo, has been called up to the squad for the upcoming friendlies, while further down the pecking order still is 20-year-old Jherson Vergara who is on AC Milan’s books.

At full back there is less need for renewal with Zuniga and Armero set to continue and Santiago Arias developing nicely.  Hector Quinones is a promising option at left back but needs more regular first team football if he is to challenge for a place.  Nevertheless, there are more than enough good young defenders ready to step up and now will be the time for Pekerman to work out who will go on to become regular fixtures in a new look backline.

One issue already resolved is that of the future of boss Jose Pekerman.  The 64-year-old Argentine, who guided Colombia to their first World Cup since 1998, has extended his contract with the national team up until 2018, much to the relief of the CFF.  This should ensure continuity within the squad but also bode well for the future, given Pekerman’s track record of successfully incorporating youngsters into the senior set up which should benefit Colombia in the long term too.

Elsewhere, the rest of the squad is pretty good nick, with an array of options in both midfield and up front.  Expect James Rodriguez to grow into even more of a key figure after his sensational performances, while the electric Juan Cuadrado will continue to be a prominent weapon.   It will be interesting to see how Juan Fernando Quintero is used, most likely as an understudy to James or out wide on the left to accommodate both.  A star in waiting, it will be a crucial stage of his development with the national team.

Another exciting, if occasionally frustrating, option is Atletico Nacional’s Edwin Cardona.  A powerful, pacey creative midfielder, Cardona is capable of the match winning moments but needs to work on his temperament and consistency.  Pekerman is the ideal coach to smooth his rough edges and he’ll get a chance to impress in the upcoming friendlies against El Salvador & Canada.

Clearly the strongest area of the Cafatero squad, the forwards are in terms of quality and quantity up there with the best.   Main man Radamel Falcao will be desperate to make up for the disappointment of missing the World Cup but as Colombia showed in Brazil there is no longer an over reliance on el Tigre.  With Jackson Martinez, Carlos Bacca, Teo Gutierrez and Adrian Ramos all in great form there will be plenty of competition for places.

Waiting in the wings are a number of younger alternatives who should be targeting a place in the stellar strikeforce.  Luis Muriel starred alongside James in the 2011 U20 World Cup but has not progressed as much as expected and needs to recapture his form to force his way back in contention.  As well as Muriel, the likes of Darwin Quintero, Duvan Zapata, Yimmi Chara and Jhon Cordoba are on the fringes who should be aiming to become part of the conversation too.

Still boasting an impressive squad reaching its prime, Colombia will now be expected to deliver. Qualification for Russia 2018 should be obtained but a Copa America win is well within reach for this talented generation and will be the more immediate target for Pekerman and his charges.

Written by Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson

An Argentinian & South American enthusiast and long-suffering Aston Villa fan, Tom began writing about the continent's always dramatic football after returning from a six-month stint working in Buenos Aires.He has since been featured on numerous sites, such as Sky Sports, IBWM and A Football Report.

You can find more at @tomrobbo89
Tom Robinson

100 to Watch


Scout Report2 hours ago

Scout Report: Vinícius Junior | The most expensive player born this century

Anderson Moura lays down the rule on the world’s most expensive player of the 21st century thus fair, Vinícius Junior....

Talent Radar1 day ago

2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #7: Manchester City’s trio lead the way

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Tactical Analysis1 day ago

Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 2-3 RB Leipzig | Leipzig’s Press Beats Dortmund’s Possession

Ryan Tank writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Bundesliga match that ended Borussia Dortmund 2-3 RB Leipzig Line Ups...

Series1 day ago

Tactical Philosophy: Paul Clement

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 days ago

Interview: Ex-Premier League players on the Problem with Young Footballers

Outside of the Boot had the opportunity to speak with ex-Premier League players – Manchester City’s Paul Dickov, Leicester City’s...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Nicolo Barella | Cagliari’s Complete Midfielder

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report on Cagliari’s promising Italian midfielder, Nicolo Barella In a country that is as passionate...

Opinions2 days ago

Statiscal Analysis: Which team has the worst injury record in La Liga?

Luke Glassford provides us with a statiscal look at the injuries suffered by various La Liga teams over the past...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Chris Willock | Benfica’s ex-Arsenal youth product

Hrishi Anand takes a look at youngster Chris Willock, whose move away from the Premier League could help blaze a...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Marlos Moreno | Manchester City’s Colombian flash

Josh Sippie takes a look at Colombian international Marlos Moreno, whose Spanish education will make or break his chances at...

Opinions5 days ago

Analysing Kevin De Bruyne: Pep Guardiola’s Total Midfielder

Charles Onwuakpa analyses Kevin De Bruyne, who has quickly developed into Pep Guardiola’s most important player. When we talk about...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Josh Sargent | USA’s rising star

Josh Sippie takes a look at USA’s brightest young star on the block, Josh Sargent With the Bundesliga’s new prerogative of...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Timothy Weah | The talented encore to George

Josh Sippie analyses one of PSG and USA’s young starlets, Timothy Weah The United States trek towards international relevance is...

Indian Football1 week ago

Traveling Barefoot – The Story of Indian Football

Arinjay Ghosh details the topsy-turvy tale of Indian Football through the years.

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

7 Players to Watch at the U17 World Cup 2017 in India

Brian Hradek highlights seven players who could make an impact at the U17 World Cup 2017 The U17 World Cup...

Series2 weeks ago

Tactical Philosophy: Eddie Howe

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 weeks ago

Tales of a Football Scout: Giulio D’Alessandro

Kaustubh Pandey gets the chance to sit down with Italian football scout and agent, Giulio D’Alessandro Contrary to popular opinion,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Newcastle and the Loyalty Project

Josh Sippie takes a look at Rafa Benitez’s approach and style at Premier League newboys Newcastle United. Liverpool, Inter, Chelsea,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

What direction is football heading in?

Jonathan Roberts looks deeply into the direction football is heading in, using de Boer’s sacking as an example.  It’s easy to...

Specials2 weeks ago

In-depth Analysis: Why Lukaku makes Man United better than Ibrahimovic ever will

Alexiou Konstantinos provides a detailed comparison between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and why the former is an upgrade for...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Monarcas 3-0 Xolos | Monarcas’ Pressing And Xolos’ Offside Trap

Brian Bertie writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Liga MX match that ended Monarcas 3-0 Xolos Monarcas and Xolos...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot