Colombia coach Jose Pekerman on Monday announced a provisional 35-man squad ahead of the national soccer team’s participation in this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
There were no surprise omissions from the list that will be reduced to 23 players and officially announced before June 4.
The squad will be headed by captain and record goal-scorer Radamel Falcao as well as 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez and Juventus star Juan Cuadrado who has seen a recent return to action for his club after having a groin operation earlier in the season.
While the final 23-man squad is likely to be dominated by the faces that led Colombia to fourth place in the CONMEBOL South American section of World Cup qualifying, there may be some debate over the likes of Villarreal’s Carlos Bacca and the Junior Barranquilla pair of Yimmi Chara and Teofilo Gutierrez.
Bacca, who featured at the 2014 has shown some decent form at club level but his performances for the national team recently have not been up to the same standard.
The Barranquilla-based duo of Teofilo and Chara meanwhile have both suffered a dip in form over the course of the domestic season leaving Pekerman with a difficult call on their possible inclusions.
The same can be said of Deportivo Cali midfielder Abel Alguilar who has been a mainstay in Pekerman’s plans to date and performed reasonably well for the national team but has failed to make a major impact in the domestic league this season.
The Colombians find themselves in Group H for the showpiece in Russia along with Japan, Senegal and Poland as they hope to replicate the performances that saw them reach the quarter-finals of the competition in 2014.
32 teams, including debutants Iceland and Panama will take part in 48 matches in the group stage to determine who qualifies for the second round of the tournament with the top two teams advancing from each group.
Colombia’s group is the only one in the tournament that does not contain a former winner of world soccer’s biggest prize.
Colombia’s preliminary World Cup squad
- David Ospina (Arsenal)
- Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali)
- Ivan Arboleda (Banfield)
- Jose Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas)
- Cristian Zapata (Milan)
- Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham)
- Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven)
- Oscar Murillo (Pachuca)
- Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Johan Mojica (Girona )
- Yerry Mina (Barcelona)
- William Tesillo (Santa Fe)
- Bernardo Espinosa (Girona)
- Stefan Medina (Monterrey)
- Farid Díaz (Olimpia)
- Wilmar Barrios (Boca Juniors)
- Carlos Sanchez (Espanyol)
- Jefferson Lerma (Levante)
- Jose Izquierdo (Brighton Hove & Albion)
- James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich)
- Giovanni Moreno (Shanghai Shenhua)
- Abel Aguilar (Deportivo Cali)
- Mateus Uribe (America)
- Yimmi Chara (Junior)
- Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate)
- Edwin Cardona (Boca Juniors)
- Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus)
- Gustavo Cuellar (Flamengo)
- Sebastian Perez (Boca Juniors)
- Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco)
- Duvan Zapata (Sampdoria)
- Miguel Borja (Palmeiras)
- Carlos Bacca (Villarreal)
- Luis Fernando Muriel (Sevilla)
- Teofilo Gutierrez (Junior)