2018 World Cup team preview: Colombia

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Getting to know Colombia: Quarterfinalists in Brazil behind an amazing tournament from James Rodriguez, Los Cafeteros face a much tougher road out of the group stage in their sixth World Cup.

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What group are they in? Group H. Japan is probably the underdog of the bunch, with Poland, Colombia, and Senegal all capable of claiming top honors

Game schedule – Group H – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Tuesday, June 19: Colombia v Japan, Saransk 8 a.m. ET
Sunday, June 24: Poland v Colombia, Kazan 2 p.m. ET
Thursday, June 28: Senegal v Colombia, Samara 10 a.m. ET

Projected lineup (4-1-4-1) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Ospina —–

— Arias — D. Sanchez — Mina — Fabra —

— C. Sanchez —

— Cuadrado — James — Uribe — Bacca —

—- Falcao —-

Star player: James Rodriguez — On loan at Bayern, the soon-to-be 27-year-old reclaimed the form that got him from Monaco to Real Madrid. James posted seven goals and 11 assists in just 23 league matches this season, nearly on par with his 13 and 13 in 29 on La Liga debut at Real.

Manager: José Pékerman – The 68-year-old Argentine oversaw the fun run in 2014, and has thrice behind named the South American Coach of the Year.

Secret weapon: Yerry Mina — Barcelona’s 23-year-old center back got some playing time late in his first La Liga season

Prediction: Will battle to advance, and needs to make its statement with an opening win over Japan. Failing that, they are out early. In its last three matches, however, Los Cafeteros have beaten France and shutout Egypt and Australia. Colombia just might push through, and is a nightmare in a one-off situation.