The 2014 World Cup has seen a spate of key players having to miss out through injury. One of the biggest headline stories of them all was Radamel Falcao missing the tournament for Colombia. Key players like that are very difficult to replace, but Colombia will actually be able to replace Falcao more effectively than say, France will Franck Ribery or the Netherlands will Kevin Strootman.
Colombia get their tournament underway with their first group game against Greece on Saturday, with most onlookers wondering just how they will cope without their star striker. In reality, though, that is the one area of the field that Colombia can actually cover a big loss somewhat. Yes, having Falcao would be a huge boost obviously, but Falcao is more replaceable than a James Rodriguez would be for Los Cafeteros. Even in Falcao’s absence, they will still show themselves to be a dangerous foe at this World Cup.
In the striker department, Colombia have five strikers vying for a place in the team of coach Jose Peckerman, and the options he has are very strong. Peckerman usually opts for a 4-2-2-2 formation but has tinkered with a 4-3-2-1 recently, and he is expected to revert to his initial formation for the tournament.
Whatever the formation, Teofilo Gutierrez will most likely be the first choice attacker with the question being just who will be his striker partner. Gutierrez is a predator in attack, and Peckerman will most likely look to him as his first choice after he partnered Falcao for a lot of the qualifying campaign.
Jackson Martinez is the most immediately recognizable name available, but the Porto striker has never quite managed to replicate his club form for the national team — not yet at least. The Sevilla striker, Carlos Bacca, provides a great alternative after an impressive season in Spain scoring 18 goals in all competitions.
Adrian Ramos is another option after a productive campaign for Hertha Berlin in Germany, scoring 16 goals (one goal behind the leading scorers Mario Mandzukic and Robert Lewandowski) and earning himself a move to Borussia Dortmund in the process. In Italy, Victor Ibarbo did not enjoy as successful a season at Cagliari as his striking teammates had at enjoyed at club level this year, but he is still a dangerous player who can make an impact. Ibarbo is fast and and worries defenders when he runs at them with the ball.
So the options are good for Colombia as they attempt to fill the hole left by the injured Falcao. The options are not as vast when it comes to replacing the intelligence and creativity of a player like Rodriguez, though, and that is why replacing Falcao will not be quite as troubling for Los Cafeteros as some fans may expect.