While Bert van Marwijk’s debut game as Caltex Socceroos coach didn’t go to plan, the side gets a chance to put things right when they take on Colombia in London on Wednesday morning (Australian time).
The South Americans are a dangerous side, having beaten Australia’s Group C FIFA World Cup opponents France in a friendly on Saturday.
So the clash at Craven Cottage will be another good test for the Caltex Socceroos before they begin preparations for Russia in camp in Turkey.
Here’s all you need to know about Australia’s upcoming opponents.
Current world ranking: 13
Where?: Craven Cottage, London, England
When?: Tuesday, 27 March, 8pm (local) / 6am AEDT (Wednesday, 28 March 2018)
Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS and Network Ten
Coach: Jose Pekerman
The experienced boss has been in charge of Colombia since 2012, guiding them to the quarter-finals on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and they’ll again be in Russia later this year.
A tactically-astute coach, Pekerman has this Colombian side playing attacking football, blessed with some exceptional playing talent.
When you’ve played for the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at just 22, it’s hard to go past James Rodriguez.
He shot to fame at the 2014 World Cup, scoring a wonder goal in the Round of 16 win over Uruguay. Rodrigues provides the creative flair for the likes of Radamel Falcao, Carlos Bacca and co. in the front third.
Ominously, Colombia defeated France 3-2 in Paris on Saturday morning (AEDT), coming from 2-0 down to win thanks to Juan Quintero’s late penalty.
They also played AFC opposition in their previous friendlies in November, losing 2-1 to Korea Republic, before they bounced back to beat China 4-0.
In the always tricky CONMEBOL qualifying group, Colombia booked their spot in Russia with a final round 1-1 draw with Peru, one of Australia’s Group C opponents at the tournament.
The two nations haven’t met since 2001 when they played a friendly in Bogota, won 3-2 by the hosts with Steve Corica and Scott Chipperfield scoring late goals for Australia.
In 1995, Colombia visited Australia for two internationals which resulted in a goalless draw in Brisbane and a 1-0 win for Colombia three days later in Sydney.
Did you know? Young Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo isa teammate of Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan at English Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion.
Caltex Socceroos v Colombia
WHEN: Wednesday, March 28 - kick-off 6am AEDT
WHERE: Craven Cottage, London, England
HOW TO WATCH: Live on Fox Sports and Network Ten
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