Colombian star James Rodríguez is not in the “ideal” physical level for Thursday’s game against Brazil, although his presence will be determined hours before the game, Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda said on Wednesday.
“James came with some discomfort (…) both in the ribs and a muscular issue,” said the coffee coach at a press conference in Sao Paulo, where the match will be played for the thirteenth date of the South American qualifier towards Qatar-2022.
“It is considered that he is going in that process (of set-up), of course not at the ideal level, due to all that these annoyances represent, but giving a good response in each of the training units,” he added.
After an outstanding career defending European clubs, including Real Madrid, Rodríguez signed with Al-Rayyan in September.
In the last meeting with the Qatari team, on October 30, he was sent off for complaining to the referee after receiving a strong tackle that hurt his ribs.
Rodríguez, 30, had not been considered for the national team since Rueda took over in January, after the departure of Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, due to his continuous injuries and a technical decision.
Even without 10, the scorer of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Colombia climbed back to fourth place (16 points) in the tie, the last one that gives a direct ticket to Qatar.
Rueda said that in Wednesday’s practice before the clash with leader Brazil, who will qualify for the World Cup if he defeats them, he will define whether Rodríguez will start.
Although Colombia has not lost in the tie since the coach’s arrival, it has suffered to score and generate goal options.
«My task is to look for alternatives, to strengthen the payroll, thinking about the immediate future. That has been my task during this month and that is why the decision that James was here, “he said.
Against Brazil, who have never lost at home in qualifying, Rueda will have to patch up the rear after numerous casualties from usual men such as Yerry Mina, Carlos Cuesta, Óscar Murillo and Stefan Medina, as well as Falcao García in attack and Mateus Uribe in medium.
«We have worked with two lines of four, aware of the rival in front of us. The whole group, in defensive solidarity, will be important, “said DT.
«To get a good result we must score, it is what we will look for tomorrow. Everything is possible, give that blow of authority, look for those three points. We need to consolidate our position in the rankings, “he said. (AFP)