Even without their most prolific striker Radamel Falcao, Colombia look a good bet to top Group C and make it to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup.
The absence of Falcao is obviously a setback and may tempt some punters into taking the odds of 4/1 generally available about Ivory Coast topping the group, but Colombia have a number of attacking alternatives at their disposal. Teofilo Gutierrez should retain his starting berth up-front as he has been in good form for River Plate recently with 5 goals in his last 6 games and could be partnered by either Carlos Bacca or Jackson Martinez. Bacca has been in reasonable form for Sevilla of late, bagging 4 goals in his last 8 La Liga games, but Jackson Martinez has perhaps been more consistent having netted 20 goals this season for Porto.
Colombia can also expect goals from their midfielders should manager Jose Peckerman decide to field just one recognised striker as James Rodriguez has notched 9 goals for Monaco this season and Juan Cuadrado also managed 11 goals for Fiorentina.
Colombia look like being more than a match for Greece in Belo Horizonte for their opening match of the tournament on June 14th as the Pirate Ship may not be able to rely on their creditable clean-sheet record and don't appear to have a plan b if they go behind. Ivory Coast will give them a stern test in Brasilia, but are not unbeatable and Japan's lack of a depth in quality will most likely see Blue Samurai found out in Cuiaba.
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