Preview: Colombia vs. Paraguay
Colombia will take on fellow South American nation Paraguay in a friendly encounter at the DRV PNK Stadium in Florida on Sunday.
This fixture is the final friendly for both countries before the year comes to a close, as neither will be competing at the 2022 World Cup this month.
After competing at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, Colombia were unable to book their place in Qatar after finishing sixth in CONMEBOL qualifying, just one point behind Peru in the inter-confederation playoff position.
As a result, Los Cafeteros decided to sack manager Reinaldo Rueda after just 15 months in charge, with Argentine coach Nestor Lorenzo appointed as his successor in June.
Lorenzo began his reign with successive friendly victories over Guatemala and Mexico in the USA during the September international break, beating the former 4-1 in New York before securing an impressive 3-2 comeback victory over the latter in California.
Colombia were trailing by two goals in the opening half hour against Mexico, but a second-half brace from substitute Luis Sinisterra and a winner from Wilmar Barrios turned the game on its head to keep Lorenzo’s 100% record as Los Cafeteros boss intact.
Colombia, who have won only one of their last four meetings against Paraguay, will be looking to conclude the year on a positive note and extend their winning streak across all competitions to six matches.
Paraguay endured a disappointing CONMEBOL World Cup qualification campaign after winning only three of their 18 matches and scoring just 12 goals in the process, fewer than any other South American nation in the 10-team standings.
Los Guaranies lost six of their final eight qualifiers, but Guillermo Barros Schelotto remains in the hotseat and his side’s form has in fact improved slightly as they have since lost only one of their last five internationals.
However, that solitary defeat was at the hands of Peru in a friendly on Thursday, with Alex Valera heading home the only goal of the match to secure a 1-0 victory, before Alexander Succar and Fabian Balbuena were both dismissed following a heated confrontation in the closing stages.
Paraguay kept three successive clean sheets before losing out to Peru, and they will now be keen to bounce back with a win on Sunday. However, Los Guaranies have won only one of their last nine meetings with Colombia – a 2-1 away victory in October 2017.
Colombia form (all competitions):
Paraguay form (all competitions):
We say: Colombia 2-0 Paraguay
Colombia have made a bright start under the tutelage of Lorenzo and they will fancy their chances of success against a goal-shy Paraguay outfit.
Even though Los Cafeteros are missing a couple of star names due to injury, they should have enough quality in their side to claim a routine win in Florida.