The Colombian national soccer team have began to arrive in Barranquilla ahead of vital games against Venezuela and Argentina on Friday and Tuesday.
The rest of the team are due to arrive in the coastal city on Tuesday and preparations are already well underway for the 2014 World Cup qualifier against rivals Venezuela. The group, which so far includes the likes of James Rodriguez, Fredy Guarin and Jackson Martinez, have already begun training sessions led by coach Leonel Alvarez in the capital of the Atlantico department.
Colombia began their campaign with a hard fought 2-1 away victory against Bolivia, in a tie which is notoriously difficult given the Hernando Siles stadium’s high altitude. Colombia’s standout performer was James Rodriguez. The young midfielder showed great skill and maturity as he created openings and orchestrated the midfield. The winning goal was scored deep into injury time by Atletico Madrid prolific striker Falcao, who was the leading goalscorer in last years Europa League competition.
The Venezuelan team have made huge strides in recent years and they are no longer considered as the continent’s pushovers. Venezuela, who had only recorded one competitive victory prior to 2001, are now considered as contenders for World Cup qualification. The team enjoyed a string of hard fought victories to finish an unprecedented fourth in July’s Copa America. So far in this years World Cup qualifying they have already enjoyed a historic home victory over a star-studded Argentine team.
Venezuela are sure to be in buoyant mood ahead of what is always a fiercely contested match.