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Preview: Colombia vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Colombia vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Colombia and Paraguay, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Colombia will look to put an end to a four-game winless run in World Cup 2022 Qualifying on Tuesday, when they welcome Paraguay to Barranquilla.

The hosts have dropped to fifth spot, having collected just three points from those four matches, while the visitors have now lost three straight qualifying games and sit eighth as a result.

Match preview

Given their expectations, Colombia have had a relatively unremarkable qualifying campaign for next year's World Cup, having won just three and drawn seven of their 13 outings.

Convincing victories over Peru and Chile surrounded three straight draws, but draws have now been put into a different perspective, with Reinaldo Rueda's side having failed to win any of their last four matches.

La Tricolor first played out three consecutive goalless stalemates, impressively holding Uruguay and group leaders Brazil before they failed to beat Ecuador.

They then faced another tough test against Brazil last time out, and a 72nd-minute Lucas Paqueta made the difference in a slender victory for the Selecao, seeing Rueda's men drop out of the automatic qualification spots as a result.

While they currently occupy the playoff place, both Chile above and Uruguay below are also on 16 points, meaning each result will play a huge role in this battle for the final places, and Colombia will be keen to ensure they come out on the right end on Tuesday.

Paraguay arrive looking to break a poor run of form, having lost their last three games in qualifying.

The visitors had a relatively commendable start to the campaign, collecting 11 points from their first nine games while losing just two, but they have now won just a single point from the last four outings.

After a creditable draw with Argentina, La Albirroja were handed two disappointing defeats, as they were beaten 2-0 by Chile and thrashed 4-0 by regular strugglers Bolivia in October, worsening their standing in the group.

The losing run was stretched to three games on Thursday, as Guillermo Barros Schelotto's first game as manager resulted in a 1-0 defeat to Chile, leading to a drop to eighth spot in the group.

While a four-point gap between the two sides means Paraguay could quickly boost their chances with a win, they will know they have plenty of work to do if they are to defy the odds and reach next year's tournament from this point.

Colombia World Cup Qualifying - South America form::
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L

Paraguay World Cup Qualifying - South America form::
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Having now failed to score in the last four games, Colombia will likely make changes to their attacking lineup, with Luis Muriel a candidate to replace Duvan Zapata, who is lacking form.

Talismanic midfielder James Rodriguez returned to the squad for these fixtures after a long hiatus, and he may be handed a start if he is deemed fit.

In the absence of Everton centre-back Yerry Mina through injury, Tottenham Hotspur's Davinson Sanchez and Leon's William Tesillo will continue to form a formidable pairing at the heart of a back four.

After a relatively improved performance against Chile, Paraguay are unlikely to make wholesale changes heading into Tuesday, with Gustavo Gomez and Junior Alonso bound to partner up at the back.

Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron is one of the star men for his nation, while Angel Romero boasts a commendable international record, having contributed nine goals and six assists in 39 caps, including three goals and two assists in four Copa America games this summer.

Colombia possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Munoz, Sanchez, Tesillo, Mojica; Cuellar, Barrios; Cuadrado, Rodriguez, Diaz; Muriel

Paraguay possible starting lineup:
Silva; R Rojas, Gomez, Alonso, Martinez; Romero, Villasanti, M Rojas, Morel, Almiron; Sanabria

We say: Colombia 1-0 Paraguay

While they have struggled for form, Colombia certainly boast the quality to beat Paraguay, and we see them getting over the line.

Their misfiring attack has often been bailed out by a solid defence, and we would not be surprised to see those foundations make the difference once again.

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