Following Wednesday’s narrow win over Peru, the Colombian national team
still has a chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. But exactly
how big, or small, is that chance?
Colombia are currently in seventh place of ten teams, while the first four advance to the finals in South Africa. The fifth-placed team plays an extra tie with a team from the North and Central American zone. If things don’t change, that would mean a play-off between Ecuador and Mexico.
The fifth place appears to be Colombia’s highest realistic target. Ecuador are three points ahead with four games to go, and Uruguay are in between with one point more than Colombia.
A first step in the right direction could be made on September 5, when Colombia host Ecuador. A win by two or more goals would leave the Colombians ahead of their opponents in the standings. If Uruguay were to lose to -or draw with- Peru the same day, Colombia would even move into fifth place.
But even adopting that very positive scenario, things would be very hard in games to come. On September 9, colombia play an away match in Uruguay, yet another crucial game if Eduardo Lara’s men want to have any chance of qualifying.
On October 10, second-placed Chile visit for what should be yet another tough challenge. Four days later, Colombia will play their final match against Paraguay.
If Colombia fail to make it to South Africa, it would be their third missed World Cup in a row. The three editions before (1990, 1994 and 1998) all included the Colombian team.