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World Cup Qualifying - South America | Group Stage
Sep 8, 2023 at 12am UK
Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez

1 - 0

Borre (46')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Gonzalez (33')

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

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

Colombia and Venezuela will begin their 2026 World Cup qualification campaigns when they meet at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez in Barranquilla on Thursday.

While Colombia failed to qualify for the recent World Cup in Qatar, Venezuela have never qualified for a World Cup in their entire history.

Match preview

Indeed, having reached the knockout stages at the previous two World Cups, failing to even qualify for the most recent rendition was a major disappointment for Colombia.

As such, it was little surprise to see them bring a new manager in last summer, with their former assistant manager Nestor Lorenzo landing the senior job after impressing with Melvar in Peru.

The 57-year-old, who earned 13 caps for Argentina during his playing career, is unbeaten across eight games in charge so far, winning six and drawing two. His most impressive victory arguably came in Colombia's last match, when they beat Germany 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen in a friendly in June.

However, having only presided over friendlies so far, Lorenzo will be more than aware that Thursday's qualifying match against Venezuela marks the true beginning of his reign in terms of being judged, with qualifying for the next World Cup a minimum expectation.

Venezuela, on the other hand, know that they are up against it to compete in the United States, Mexico and Canada in less than three years time, having finished rock-bottom of CONMEBOL qualifying in each of the last two editions.

Ranked as high as 25th in the world less than four years ago, La Vinotinto have fallen more than 30 places since then, with Fernando Batista's side now sitting 57th in FIFA's world ranking system.

However, there will be an expectation on Batista's shoulders to make them much more competitive this time around, with the 53-year-old replacing Jose Pekerman as head coach earlier this year.

With three wins and one draw from his four friendly matches in charge, there is early evidence that he may be capable of doing that, but they surely need at least one positive result from their upcoming matches against Colombia and Paraguay to boost confidence of making history.

Colombia World Cup Qualifying - South America form:

Colombia form (all competitions):

Venezuela World Cup Qualifying - South America form:

Venezuela form (all competitions):

Team News

Colombia captain David Ospina is out through injury at the moment, meaning that Juan Cuadrado is likely to take the armband in the former Arsenal goalkeeper's absence. Camilo Vargas will deputise between the posts after keeping a clean sheet against Germany last time out.

Premier League stars Luis Diaz and Jefferson Lerma will almost certainly start in attack and midfield respectively, with Richard Rios and Jhon Cordoba hoping to make their senior debuts.

Venezuela, meanwhile, have left out 41-capped Jhon Murillo from their travelling squad, while Ronald Hernandez has also failed to make the cut.

Captain Tomas Rincon will almost certainly earn his 127th cap and counting in Barranquilla, while former West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon is only four caps away from joining Rincon in the 100 club.

Colombia possible starting lineup:
Vargas; Munoz, Mina, Lucumi, Machado; Uribe, Lerma; Rodriguez, Cuadrado; Borre, Diaz

Venezuela possible starting lineup:
Graterol; Rosales, Villanueva, Osorio, Navarro; Savarino, Herrera, Casseres, Soteldo; Martinez, Rondon

We say: Colombia 2-0 Venezuela

Both managers are still unbeaten since taking over within the last 12 months, and despite Venezuela's struggles in qualifying in recent years, we expect to see a competitive match on Thursday.

However, Colombia clearly possess greater individual quality, with Diaz in particular capable of making the difference after scoring twice in four Premier League starts for Liverpool already this season.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:curl

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