Saturday, May 18, 2024

James Rodriguez eyeing 2026 World Cup qualification with Colombia

Midfielder James Rodriguez said Colombia’s players are already seeking to make amends for their failure to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Colombia fell one point short of a playoff spot following a series of underwhelming performances in South America’s grueling two-year qualifying campaign.

“It was sad because we wanted to go to another World Cup,” local media quoted Rodriguez as saying on Sunday. “This generation deserved it. Not going to a World Cup was hard for the players to take. But there’s another one around the corner, and hopefully we can be there.”

Rodriguez is currently without a club after parting ways with Greece’s Olympiacos in April. His lack of recent competitive matches meant he was left out of Nestor Lorenzo’s squad for the Cafeteros’ latest friendlies: a 1-0 win over Iraq in Valencia last Friday and Monday’s clash with Germany in Gelsenkirchen, Xinhua reported.

The 31-year-old is impressed by what he is seeing from Lorenzo, who replaced Reinaldo Rueda last June.

Argentine Lorenzo had already developed a rapport with several players during his time as the Cafeteros’ assistant coach from 2012 to 2019.

“I think we’re going to do well with him,” Rodriguez said. “He was an assistant under [Jose] Pekerman, so he knows the job and the players.”

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