After four matches without scoring a goal, on Tuesday, Colombia will receive Paraguay in Barranquilla. Can Colombia get on the winning path again?
Five days after the slightly disappointing game in Brazil, Colombia will face Paraguay on Tuesday. Colombia’s defence against Brazil was mostly solid, even though the team was missing three key defenders through injury. But, just as with the previous games, los cafeteros barely created any opportunities. This meant that one moment of inattention decided the game.
Paraguay is not in Brazil’s league though. It is almost bottom of the group and has very little chance of making it to the World Cup. In contrast, Colombia is still very much in the running for qualification — despite the lack of goals in the last four games. Tuesday’s match is where Colombia is expected to pick up some valuable points.
Davinson Sánchez and William Tesillo’s strong defence against Brazil showed that manager Reinaldo Rueda is capable of making his defence work, even when he’s down several injured players. It won’t get any easier for this game as Johan Mojica has joined the list of unavailable defenders. The left back picked up a yellow card against Brazil and is suspended. However, there is no doubt about the replacement. Yairo Moreno, who played as central midfielder against Brazil, showed in September against Chile he is a great option for the left back position.
On the midfield, Rueda faces another problem. Wilmar Barrios, arguably Colombia’s most important player in this qualifying cycle, shares Mojica’s fate and is suspended. Against a weaker Paraguayan side, Rueda could opt for more football from the back with Victor Cantillo. But the biggest question is, will James Rodríguez play from kick-off? The iconic number ten had only played four games in six months before his fifteen minutes against Brazil last week. His fitness is far from his best years, but with his creativity, he could prove a vital solution for the lack of goals in the past matches.
Miguel Borja is expected to start in the centre of attack in favour of Duván Zapata. Borja scored twice in the last home game he took part in against Chile. Plus, after several years with Junior in Barranquilla, the striker knows the Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez stadium through and through.
A bad result against Paraguay wouldn’t see Colombia eliminated. But it would seriously complicate Colombia’s aspirations to go to the World Cup in Qatar. With several players injured and suspended, it won’t be an easy game. But it’s still a great opportunity to get some much-needed points and hopefully a few goals.
The kick-off for Colombia vs Paraguay is this Tuesday, November 16 at 6 pm in Barranquilla.