Is doom impending for the Colombia national team after Radamel Falcao’s second knee injury of his career?

World Cup 2014: loss of Radamel Falcao to injury a huge, but not crippling loss for Colombia

Primo loss: Colombia’s talisman Radamel Falcao will be missing from the World Cup but Jose Pekerman has talent to fall back on Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Juan Arango

By Juan Arango, World Cup Nation: Colombia

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When Radamel Falcao García lied on the ground at the Stade Gerland on Wednesday, many Colombian fans saw the hopes and dreams of success in Brazil go down the drain.

There was desperation; there was impotence throughout the Cafetero faithful as they saw their leading goalscorer being carried off the pitch on a stretcher and news of him missing the World Cup began to circulate.

There is still the speculation as to how severe the injury is to his knee, so we’ll wait on that. Yes, Falcao is a tremendous loss for Colombia. How would Argentina function without Messi? How would a Ronaldo-less Portugal play?

Those sides still have a great deal of talent without those players, but they help their respective teams are looked at much higher because of what they can do. Falcao is at that level.

The Colombian media took it as if their favourite cousin died. Some fans lit candles while a few social misfits decided to send death threats to Chesselay player Soner Ertek.

Those were just some of the examples of the sense of despair throughout, but is this it for Colombia? Is doom impending for the national team after Falcao’s second ACL injury of his career? I wouldn’t go that far.

“The impact of Falcao’s absence is being felt right now internationally, people know of his goal scoring ability,” said former Colombian national team and World Cup player Luis Alberto Perea, “Falcao brings many intangibles and leadership to the team and he will surely be missed but there are still quality players that can do great things.”

Options Aplenty

“(Injuries) a part of (football) life and Colombia have to move on,” said Perea. “It is not over and we have plenty of players that can step in an contribute. I am sure that (Pékerman) is already preparing for this.”

José Pékerman is indeed preparing and one of the deepest squads up top of any World Cup side. Not only does Pékerman have quantity but there is also quality with several players finding themselves in a good form. Right now there are a plethora of players that could step into his role.

For starters, look at Portugal’s goal scoring leaders. They are both Colombian. Porto’s Jackson Martínez is one of the most sought after players in Europe. He presence in the area and ability to finish placed him very high up in transfer market dossiers and was rumoured to head to clubs like Arsenal and even Borussia Dortmund amongst several others.

Martínez is accompanied atop the Liga Sagres table with 13 goals by former Millonarios and Seattle Sounders man Fredy Montero.

For the former Deportivo Cali player, coming to Europe was a chance to finally grab the attention of the national team after a successful tenure in the American northwest with the Seattle Sounders.

Montero is lighting up the Portuguese league with Sporting Lisbon as he came in to replace Dutch international Ricky Van Wolfswinkel who moved on to Norwich City.

Despite not being part of Pékerman’s call-ups, the coach and national team assistant Patricio Camps have observed him and there was talk of him getting a chance to play his way in.

Another player that is near the top of the goalscoring list in Europe is Hertha Berlin’s Adrián Ramos. The native of Santander de Quilichao is tied with Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski in the goalscoring table in the Bundesliga with 11 goals. Ramos’ efficiency has been part of the reason why the recently promoted

Hertha are fighting for a European cup spot. He’s also been the target of a Stoke City’s during the past few months. The problem with him is that he was not in Pékerman’s list throughout World Cup qualifying. His last national team game was in November 2011 when Argentina defeated Colombia in Barranquilla in what ended up being the swansong of then-coach Leonel Álvarez.

Carlos goalscoring with Seville has been a major surprise as he’s adapted to play in La Liga months after his transfer to the Andalusian side from Belgian side Club Brugge where he was both player of the year and leading goal scorer in 2012-13.

Udinese’s Luis Fernando Muriel is one of the young promises of Colombian football. What he lacks in experience he compensates with skill and confidence. If you want a sample of that, just check out his prediction against Milan and then backing it up with a goal and a win in Coppa Italia semis against the rossoneri.

Also add Cagliari’s Victor Ibarbo, who was called up by Pékerman in the end of 2013 and could be a speedster that can make things very complicated if you add Camille Zuni (Cámilo Zúñiga) as well as Dorlán Pabón and Juan Guillermo Charade (Cuadrado) into the fray from the outside.

“What Colombia have to do now is take things in stride and continue preparing for the World Cup,” said Perea. Falcao is a player that cannot be replaced. His numbers say volumes about his importance to the team’s overall performance. At the same time, there are several others that want to step in and take the team as far as possible. Right now Colombia are hurt, but they can (and will) recover, as will Falcao.

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