World Cup team preview: Colombia

A star-studded Colombia side should fancy their chances of emerging intact from Group H at the World Cup, which also includes Japan, Poland and Senegal.

Ranked 16th in the world, this will be Colombia’s second successive World Cup finals appearance after they made the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago, their best showing in a tournament they have played in on five previous occasions overall.

Up front the South Americans have two potent weapons in vice-captain James Rodriguez, who scored eight goals and 14 assists for Bayern Munich last season, and captain Radamel Falcao, who fired in 18 league goals in 26 matches for Monaco last season.

Between the pair, they have 50 international goals, but will need a bit more support after Colombia managed only 21 goals in 18 qualifying matches.

Villareal striker Carlos Bacca is one man who can also get goals, as is Jose Izquierdo, who has shown good potential at Brighton in England.

Other Premiership-based Colombian stars include Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina and Spurs centre-back Davinson Sanchez.

They also have some big-name players at Italian clubs in Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado and AC Milan defender Cristian Zapata.

If the South Americans can gel in Russia, the Jose Pekerman-coached team could just about beat just about anyone on their day and could be potential dark-horses of the tournament.

Colombia squad:

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas).

Defenders: Cristian Zapata (Milan), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Johan Mojica (Girona), Yerry Mina (Barcelona).

Midfielders: Wmar Barrios (Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (Espanyol), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Abel Aguilar (Deportivo Cali), Mateus Uribe (America), Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus).

Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Miguel Borja (Palmeiras), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Luis Fernando Muriel (Sevilla).