Friday, November 23, 2007

Colombia Conteds in CONMEBOL: Anyone Seen Carlos Valderrama?

Wondering what might be the hottest football nation right now? Well, it's certainly not England. No, the answer isn't even a European squad, not even Italy.

No, it's Colombia.

With World Cup qualifying well under way in the Southern hemisphere, it may be easy to overlook the boys of Bogota, but this week's 2-1 win over Argentina in the altitude of the capital city is bound to earn Colombia some notice. In fact, if you've been paying attention at all, you'll know this team hasn't lost in quite a while. It has pulled 8 points from four World Cup qualifiers, including this week's shocker over Argentina. In fact, Leo Messi's goal was the first Colombia surrendered in qualifying; Colombia has beaten Paraguay and Venezuela 1-0, and held Brazil to a 0-0 draw. Yes, that's 4 of a possible 6 points against Argentina and Brazil, probably the Nos. 1 and 2 squads in the world.

This is a stark turnaround for Colombia, which last lost July 2 in Copa America to Argentina, 4-2. It humbled the U.S., 1-0, and has not lost since.

Colombia is just one great story in South American qualifying. Paraguay leads CONMEBOL qualifying with 10 points. Unfortunately, we won't see a return to qualifying until June, which is probably bad for Colombia and its current momentum. The top 4 teams in CONMEBOL qualify, and the fifth-place team takes on a CONCACAF team for another World Cup spot.

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