Colombia will play its first game in the South American qualifiers for the Brazil 2014 World Cup on October 11 and will not know until October 15, 2013 whether it has qualified, South American soccer federation Conmebol announced Saturday.
Colombia’s 2014 World Cup qualifying fixtures
Because host country Brazil is automatically qualified to take part in the World Cup, Colombia has to play eight other South American countries for the four available tickets to Brazil. The country that ends fifth in the South American ranking will have to win an intercontinental play-off to qualify.
“In the absence of Brazil it’s as if there’s an extra spot up for grabs,” Colombia full-back Pablo Armero told FIFA.com.
“Aside from that, the teams are incredibly well-matched. Every country has at least a few players doing well at big clubs,” the defender added.
Other countries in the South American zone are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
In the FIFA world ranking, Colombia stands 7th in South America after Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Paraguay.
Colombia has not been able to qualify to a World Cup since 1998.