Colombia will on take on Peru on Wednesday in a tense bid to qualify for Brazil 2014 as neither team has yet gathered enough points to guarantee placement at the World Cup.
The game will take place in the northern Colombian city of Barranquilla, where a victory could propel Colombia to its first FIFA playoff in 16 years.
“It will be a game of great suspense because of what both teams have been doing: Peru wanting to increase its possibility of being in the world cup and us too,” Colombian attacker Jackson Martinez said.
On Saturday, the game between Argentina and Colombia ended in a draw, meaning seven teams, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, Uruguay and Peru, have a chance of qualifying for the world cup. Brazil is automatically qualified as host country.
The last time Colombia participated in a world cup was in France in 1998.
The national team, led by Argentinian coach Jose Pekerman, is number two in the South American rankings with 20 points after Argentina that has 25. Peru is at sixth place with 14 points, after securing a crucial 1-0 victory against Ecuador on Saturday. Colombia does have one less game played than its direct competitors.
“It is vital, it is very important to win three points against Peru and for that reason we hope all goes well here in Barranquilla,” Martinez said.
In June 2012, Colombia secured a 1-0 victory over the Peruvian national team in the capital of Lima. Martinez said last year’s triumph could be repeated, should the Colombian team be allowed to play its famous offensive soccer spearheaded by Falcao, Teofilo Gutierrez and himself.
On Tuesday, temperatures are forecast to reach 97 degrees (36 degrees Celcius) in the Colombian coastal city. The game starts at 3:30pm at the local Metropolitan Stadium.