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Penpix of Colombia's squad for World Cup finals
June 5, 2014 / 3:40 AM / 3 years ago

Penpix of Colombia's squad for World Cup finals

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s squad for the World Cup finals comprises the following 23 players:

Colombia's national soccer team poses before a friendly soccer match against Senegal ahead of the 2014 World Cup, in Buenos Aires May 31, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

Goalkeepers:

David Ospina (Nice) Age 25; 36 caps. Very good keeper on his line, who began his career with Atletico Nacional and became the youngest player to win the Colombian league title, aged 18, in 2007. Moved to France in 2008.

Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali). Age 42 (21-06-71); 55 caps. Turning 43 on June 21, he could become the oldest player at a World Cup finals in Brazil if he plays. Was in Colombia’s squad at the 1994 and 1998 finals and is the only player to have had a part in six qualifying campaigns (1994-2014 World Cups).

Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe). Age 24; 0 caps. Has been called up 15 times but has yet to make his debut.

Defenders:

Pablo Armero (West Ham United). Age 27; 51 caps. Left-back who enjoys coming forward and taking long-distance shots at goal. Played in Brazil for Palmeiras and Italy with Udinese and Napoli before moving to the Premier League in January.

Camilo Zuniga (Napoli). Age 28; 49 caps. Right-back with similar attacking instincts to Armero, who joined Napoli from Siena and helped them win the Coppa Italia in 2012.

Cristian Zapata (AC Milan). Age 27; 23 caps. Right-back with experience in Spain at Villarreal and Italy, where he first played for Udinese.

Mario Yepes (Atalanta). Age 38; 96 caps. Like former Colombia striker Juan Pablo Angel and Radamel Falcao, the team captain cut his teeth at River Plate. He arrived in Italy via Nantes and Paris St Germain, where he earned the nickname ‘Super Mario’. Spent two seasons at AC Milan but left to secure regular football before the World Cup, after which he will retire.

Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven). Age 22; 5 caps. Right-back who caught the eye of Sporting at the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia in 2011 and played in Portugal until his move to PSV last year.

Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo). Age 29; 13 caps. Robust center back who has helped his club reach the semi-finals of the South American Libertadores Cup, which will be played in July after the World Cup. He joined the Saints from Independiente Santa Fe of Bogota this year after spending 2012 at Philadelphia Union.

Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate). Age 21; 2 caps. Central defender with a brilliant future. In his short time in the River Plate first team since his debut in the Argentine first division in April 2013, has shown maturity beyond his years with great anticipation and attacking instincts that have had River coach Ramon Diaz comparing him with former captain Daniel Passarella. Won his only cap as a substitute against Tunisia in March.

Midfielders:

Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan). Age 27; 50 caps. The former Boca Juniors and St Etienne winger was linked to a player exchange deal with Juventus midfielder Mirko Vucinic that did not come off in January. He has since signed a contract extension with Inter.

Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina). Age 26; 28 caps. Has lots of pace that helps him play tirelessly from box to box and beat players on runs with the ball. Celebrates his goals with a variety of dance moves.

Abel Aguilar (Toulouse). Age 29; 46 caps. First-choice holding midfielder who spent the better part of his European career in Spain, at first on loan from Udinese, before moving to France last year.

Carlos Sanchez (Elche) Age 28; 44 caps. Holding midfielder nicknamed ‘The Rock’ who began his career in Montevideo with Danubio then played for the small Uruguayan River Plate and fetched up last year at promoted Spanish side Elche via Valenciennes in Ligue 1.

Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional). Age 25; 9 caps. Has spent all his career so far in Colombia and became a key part and captain of coach Juan Carlos Osorio’s 2013 Colombian championship winning side.

Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari). Age 24; 8 caps. Winger who made his debut for Atletico Nacional in 2008 and moved to Serie A in 2011 where he has shone for Cagliari in an attacking midfield role.

Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia). Age 33; 29 caps. After winning the Colombian league title with Atletico Nacional in 2007, he has been in Mexico with Morelia since 2008, apart from a loan spell in 2009 back at his former club. Helped Morelia win the Mexican Cup last year.

Juan Quintero (Porto). Age 21; 4 caps. Small attacking midfielder who has been likened to Lionel Messi, he helped Colombia win their third South American Under-20 title in 2013.

James Rodriguez (Monaco). Age 22 (12-07-91); 21 caps. Gifted attacking midfielder who helped modest Banfield win their maiden Argentine league title as a teenager in 2009. Linked up with Falcao at club level first at Porto and then in multi-million deals that took the pair to Monaco.

Forwards:

Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate). Age 29; 25 caps. Falcao’s strike partner. His tally of 11, seven in the qualifiers, is a better goals return than with Racing Club and now River. Religious, controversial and hot-headed, he pulled a realistic-looking toy gun on team mates in the Racing changing room after being sent off in 2012. He never played for Racing again.

Jackson Martinez (Porto). Age 27; 27 caps. Another of the Colombians so popular with Porto where he arrived from Chiapas of Mexico when Falcao moved to Atletico Madrid. Has eight international goals.

Carlos Bacca (Sevilla). Age 27; 10 caps. Striker who began his career with Atletico Junior in Barranquilla on the northern Caribbean coast where Colombia play their home matches. Joined Sevilla last year after a season with Club Bruges.

Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin). Age 28; 24 caps. Shared fourth place in the Bundesliga scoring chart with 16 goals this season, his fifth at Hertha after joining them from America de Cali in 2009, and has secured a move to Borussia Dortmund next season.

Compiled by Luis Jaime Acosta and; Rex Gowar; Editing by John O'Brien and Toby Davis

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