Colombia hope Liverpool sensation Luis Diaz can fire them to World Cup qualification, but face uphill struggle

NEW Liverpool sensation Luis Diaz was the last player to score for Colombia. The problem is that since he found the back of the net, seven games have gone by.

Diaz shot past Claudio Bravo to clinch a 3-1 win at home to Chile in a World Cup qualifier back in early September.

In the subsequent qualifiers Colombia have ground out four goalless draws and suffered three 1-0 defeats.

Diaz has played in all of them. The last two, in late January, came just as he was finalising his move to Liverpool from Porto in Portugal.

He had his moments in the last game – a 1-0 defeat away to Argentina, although based on that performance former Argentina boss Alfio Basile was amazed that Liverpool were paying so much for him.

The previous game was the lowpoint – a 1-0 loss at home to Peru which may well ensure that Colombia cannot make it to a third consecutive World Cup.

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On that afternoon they battered Peru for ninety minutes, but could not find the guile to create many chances.

And in a rare late break out, Peru scored a shock goal when former Arsenal keeper David Ospina made a dreadful error at his near post.

By this point, Colombia were already looking like a side who had given up on the possibility of ever scoring again.

Their dry run is extraordinary. Then can count on all time top scorer Radamel Falcao Garcia, on the Atalanta pair of Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata, on Raphael Santos Borre of Eintracht Frankfurt, on the creative talents of Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and, rushed back into action, of James Rodriguez, plus Luis Diaz. And they cannot find a goal.

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It is surely impossible that they will be held again this Thursday in the penultimate round of South America’s World Cup qualifiers. They are at home to Bolivia. It is the home banker.

In their eight previous away games Bolivia have drawn two and lost six, scoring 6 and conceding 22. This could be the time when Luis Diaz and company finally get over their trauma in front of goal and fill their boots.

But it will probably come too late. To have any chance of making it to Qatar, Colombia will have to beat Bolivia on Thursday and win away to Venezuela the following Tuesday. This should not be beyond them.

But all those dropped points – Colombia have drawn 8 of their 16 matches, and only won three of them – mean that they can only reach a total of 23.

If other results work in their favour, this might just be good enough to sneak into fifth position and snatch the play off slot. The chances are, though, that it will not be good enough.

The crunch game could be the final round tie between Peru and a very disappointing Paraguay, where a Peruvian win will carry them beyond Colombia’s reach.

This was the problem with that home defeat to Peru.

Not only did Colombia drop points, but one of their closest rivals came away with all three.

Colombia look poised to pay a high price for that summer afternoon when David Ospina blundered and Luis Diaz played so badly.

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