Fresh from Friday’s 4-0 blitz over Uruguay, Colombia face Chile Tuesday with confidence in the “Los Cafeteros” camp riding high.
Colombia recorded their first home win of the World Cup qualifying campaign last week in a classy display that left the South American champions wilting in the boiling Barranquilla heat.
Goals from Falcao, Camilo Zuniga and a brace from Teo Guttierez lifted Jose Pekerman’s team into the fifth place play-off spot with a third of the qualification matches completed.
But now attentions turn elsewhere – to Chile and the Estadio Monumental in Santiago.
It’s a stadium where Colombia have enjoyed precious few successes, with just one win in the five games the two teams have contested there.
Furthermore, La Roja haven’t lost at their home stadium for four years and have made an impressive start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, winning four of their six games.
But buoyed by the display in Barranquilla last week, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman is quietly confident about his team’s chances.
“Hopefully, we can continue to play like we did [against Uruguay] every game. If we maintain this level we will close in on the World Cup.” Pekerman said.
Chile sat out of last week’s round of games, a luxury rest day that the Argentine coach thinks will work in the home team’s favor.
“The match against Chile will be another type of game. Chile didn’t play and that is a big advantage for them.”
Pekerman will again be without Inter Milan midfielder Freddy Guarin who is still suffering from a virus and didn’t travel with the squad. But, captain Mario Yepes and defensive partner Aquivaldo Mosquera are expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the Uruguay game through suspension.
Those defensive options will be vital against a Chile side that will devote bodies to attacking and pressing high up the field.
But for all Chile’s impressive offensive ammunition they are susceptible at the back. The two games they have lost this qualifying heat were routs – a 4-0 defeat to Uruguay and a 4-1 reverse against Argentina.
With Falcao enjoying the form of his life, balancing defensive caution with the right supply line to the Atletico Madrid striker could push Colombia ever closer to their first World Cup finals in 14 years.