Columbia would have to find other means to hoist the world cup trophy without its star striker Radamel Falcao.
After much deliberation, Coach Jose Pekerman announced during the team's news conference that it is holding out Falcao for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup. This development comes as a serious blow to the Columbian national team as it is one of the heavy favorites in Group C which includes Japan, Greece and Ivory Coast.
Falcao is the star striker of the team and his nine goals in the South American qualifiers were instrumental to Colombia's return to the World Cup for the first time since 1998. While his eligibility for the World Cup has long been in doubt due to a knee injury he suffered in a Coupe de France game with his mother team AS Monaco last January, team officials and fans alike were hoping for a miracle recovery.
"I was very excited but now I'll have to support the team from afar and I wish them well, hoping they play a good World Cup," Falcao said, who is reduced to being a fan of the team. His coach also voiced frustration over the development but had no recourse but to leave out his star player over the final roster of 23 handed to FIFA. "The saddest day I've had since becoming Colombia coach," Jose Pekerman described his move of cutting his star player.
The development comes as a big blow to the structure and plans for the Brazil competition but the team acknowledges that this gives the Columbian national team plenty of time to prepare without its best player. Teo Gutierrez, who became a solid strike partner for Falcao, will have big shoes to fill as the new primary striker for the team. Despite this, Gutierrez can still slide to a secondary striker role flanking veterans such as Carlos Bacca or Jackson Martinez, both of whom have accomplished goal scoring records with their clubs but have fewer achievements on the international level.
While Columbia is still the heavy favorite to come out of Group C in the Brazil World Cup, it recognizes that it has to improvise to put forth competitive outings in the later stages of the match given Falcao's absence.