Only two more matches are left for Colombia in the World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign. This Saturday, Eduardo Lara’s men face Chile in an absolute must-win.
Colombia are currently in eighth place in the group of ten, although the difference with fifth-placed Argentina is only two points. The fifth position gives access to a play-off with a team from North or Central America, and seems to be the highest Colombia may still achieve.
Chile, Saturday’s opponents, are in third place and a draw would be enough for them to secure a spot in the top five. A win however, would even guarantee a top-four spot so there will be enough to play for in this match.
Colombia will have to do without their injured first-choice goalkeeper Agustin Julio for this match, and David Ospina of French Ligue 1 side Nice will take his place.
The names of Pablo Armero and Mario Yepes will be no surprise in defense, but Cristian Zapata and Camilo Zuñiga have been selected to replace Ivan Ramiro Cordoba and Amaranto Perea. Cordoba starts on the bench while Perea is injured.
Abel Aguilar and Dorlan Pablo cover the wings, while Porto’s Freddy Guarin takes on a more defensive role in midfield. Junior icon Giovanni Hernandez starts behind the two strikers.
The attack shows that Lara is willing to dominate this match as the coach picked both Jackson Martinez and Radamel Falcao to start next to each other, rather than having just one man up front.
Chile manager Marcelo Bielsa is expected to field Claudio Bravo in goal, Waldo Ponce, Gary Medel and Artudo Vidal in defense, Carlos Carmona, Rodrigo Millar, Jean Beausejour and Matias Fernandez in midfield and Mark Gonzalez, Humberto Suazo and Fabian Orellana as striking force.
Colombia don’t have good memories from their last meeting with Chile, losing 4-0 in Santiago 13 months ago. It was the heaviest defeat for Colombia in this campaign. That being said, Chile hadn’t beaten Colombia since the 1999 Copa America.
Just like the match with Ecuador, Saturday’s clash will be played at Medellin’s Atanasio Girardot stadium and kick-off is set for 5pm local time.