After impressing me at the World Cup, I've decided to start my first story on here with Colombia! I don't own FM 2014 and am holding out for the 2015 version so this will be a trial for me to see if I'll start a proper story when it comes out. This will keep me occupied in the meantime. I'll be using lonelyknight's summer update.
Decided to go for a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation as our main tactic. Falcao the obvious main forward with the very talented Rodriguez behind him. Wingers will add width with Aguilar and Guarín linking defence and the front four. Relatively strong back four but Yepes will need to be replaced soon due to age, and Ospina should be solid in between the sticks.
Qualifying was already well under-way when I took over, with us currently sitting in a qualification spot, in fourth. Eleven games remain, with five coming in the remainder of this year. I think all five are pretty winnable, with rivals Ecuador our most renowned opponents. I'll also try and arrange some friendlies around these games.
Our first game under my management came against Northern Ireland, languishing in 105th in the world rankings. Unsurprisingly we dispatched them, scoring five goals and four of them coming before the half hour. A good sign seeing four men on the scoresheet. A clean sheet as well, with Cristian Zapata doing well enough in central defence to grab the man of the match. An easy start to life for me.
My first competitive game and not the start I wanted. Rondon opened the scoring with a tap-in after some poor defending from Yepes. Falcao soon equalised with a great header but a brilliant free-kick put us behind again. Despite hitting the post 4 times, we couldn't get another back and had to settle for a defeat against a Venezuela side we were expected to beat.
We travelled home for our next fixture, hoping we'd fare better against a Bolivia side ranked 62nd in the world. Just two minutes in though things were looking bad as we conceded a poor goal early again. Luckily a Falcao brace after the hairdryer at halftime rescued this one and got us my first competitive win.
Man of the Match: Falcao
So after those results we still lie in 4th, with positions 2nd-5th very close, separated by 2 points. Argentina are running away with the group, so it looks like Us, Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador will be fighting for second. We remain 18th in the World Rankings. Hopefully that will improve next month when we play Peru and Ecuador, both ranked in the top 40.
Two early goals seemed to have got us the victory but in the second half things fell apart a bit with Ecuador clawing themselves back into it. Zuniga's sending off restricted our attempts to win the game and we eventually had to settle for a draw, in a game where we expected a win. Room for improvement against Peru next, definitely.
Man of the Match: Frickson Erazo (Ecuador)
Peru 1-4 Colombia
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A much improved performance here against Peru, albeit a weaker side than Ecuador. Worryingly once more we conceded the first goal very early, leaving us work to do. But a Falcao hattrick and a late Jackson Martinez goal sealed a dominant victory, where Peru couldn't handle our better forward players.
Man of the Match: Falcao
A draw and a win moves us up to third in our qualifying group, a solid position. We also moved up to 16th in the world rankings with Peru and Ecuador surprisingly highly ranked.