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At the 2014 World Cup, Colombia became the world’s darling, James Rodriguez became a star, and Los Cafeteros nearly pulled off a massive quarterfinal upset.
Now, there’s a chance they watch next year’s World Cup from home.
Colombia have 26 points through 17 matches in CONMEBOL qualifying, putting them right on the bubble to advance. The good news is that while things aren’t set in stone, Colombia firmly control their own destiny to reach the World Cup.
The top four teams in CONMEBOL are guaranteed a spot, while the fifth place team will advance to a playoff against an Oceania squad (Syria or Australia). The winner of the match will head to Russia, giving CONMEBOL a chance for as many as five World Cup teams.
To qualify, Colombia just need a win in Peru. It won’t be so simple, as Peru boast one of the best defensive units in the continent. Even if they don’t win, losses from some of South America’s bigger teams could also send them through. It’s important to note that Colombia cannot reach the playoff: it’s either advance, or go home.
Colombia have stumbled their way into the end of qualifying. They’ve taken just two points from their last three matches, and a loss to Paraguay last week has put the team on the bubble. To make matters worse, Cristian Zapata will miss Tuesday’s critical match with a suspension.
1. Win over Peru
2. Chile lose against Brazil
3. Argentina lose/draw against Ecuador
Here’s a look at the current CONMEBOL standings. Brazil has already won the group. Teams in bold would automatically qualify as things stand now.
|1. Brazil- x||38||11||5||1|
|5. Peru (playoff)||25||7||4||6|