Saturday, January 29, 2022

Colombia on the brink of elimination

 Colombia has had a weak World Cup qualification. After losing 6-1 to Ecuador, the new manager Reinaldo Rueda has struggled to make Colombia score goals, and before the match against Peru, Colombia had not scored a goal for five qualifiers in a row. So Colombia was under pressure at home against Peru, a team that has steadily improved and have chances of qualifying as well.

Under pressure to score Colombia started with an offensive side that counted the veterans Falcao, James and Juan Cuadrado, alongside Rafael Santos Borre and Luis Diaz. Indeed Colombia did all they had to do, except to score a goal: they attacked throughout the match, had possession and chances, but the ball simply refused to go in.

And we all know what happens in football. A defensive Peru scored on their only attempt on goal in the 85th minute when Edison Flores scored at the near post on a shot that David Ospina should have saved (and one may wonder if it was wise to let him play with an apparent injury; the only time he touched the ball in the match was when he had to pick it out of the goal).

Peru implausibly won, and came up on 4th position, ahead of Uruguay on fifth, while Colombia now lingers dangerously on 6th spot. Colombia have three matches left: Argentina (who qualified after their 1-2 away win to Chile), Bolivia and Venezuela, and have to start scoring goals if they are to retain hope of going to Qatar.

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