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World Cup: Colombia are showing they mean business

Radamel Falcao is Colombia's most famous player

"Colombia couldn't have timed their emergence any better either, considering World Cup 2014 will be the first contested on South American shores since 1978.."

With Colombia now third in FIFA's world rankings, Christian Crowther throws the spotlight on the South Americans...

Colombia is more famed for its coffee beans than its football team, as the national side's nickname Los Cafeteros (the coffee growers) suggests.

However, it's now time for the footballing world to take notice of the South Americans, especially when looking at the latest FIFA rankings, which have elevated Colombia into the top three for the first time in their history.

Colombia have shot up four places, leapfrogging Croatia, Portugal, Netherlands and Argentina in the process, with only Germany and world champions Spain above them.

While FIFA rankings are often (and rightly), taken with a pinch of salt, there is no doubting the burgeoning prowess of this crop of Colombians.

They are currently in a fantastic position to qualify from the fiercely competitive South American World Cup qualifying group, nestled three points behind Argentina at the top with a game in hand over them.

Colombia have hammered both Uruguay and Chile during the qualifying process as well as securing a point against Argentina to sit seven points clear of Uruguay in the play-off place with four matches remaining.

They couldn't have timed their emergence any better either, considering World Cup 2014 will be the first contested on South American shores since 1978.

Rated ahead of the likes of France and Portugal at 34.033/1 for glory in Brazil presently, the Colombians have to be one of the better outside bets for the tournament.

This is a team full of star names too, plying their trades at Europe's top clubs. Their most famous player is Radamel Falcao, the subject of an unexpected move to French club Monaco this summer for a reported £50 million.

Falcao has scored 17 goals in 45 appearances for Los Cafeteros, while fellow Monaco-bound compatriot James Rodriguez - who like the striker made his name in Europe at Porto - is another stellar member of the cast list.

Current Porto striker Jackson Martinez is another top performer, while AC Milan centre-back Cristian Zapata - one of eight recent squad members to have played in Serie A last season - operates in a miserly defence alongside the ultra-experienced Mario Yepes.

While FIFA's ranking system is often unfathomable, there is no doubting this particular crop of Colombians will be a force in Brazil next year.

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05 July 2013

World Cup 2014

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