Colombia v Costa Rica: Pekerman's men seeking top spot


Colombia are aiming to secure top spot in Group A of the Copa America when they play a Costa Rica team all but eliminated from the tournament in Houston on Saturday.

Jose Pekerman's men, who are ranked number three in the world, have won both of their matches in the competition and are already assured of a place in the quarter-finals.

Colombia need at least a point to be sure of finishing in first place above hosts United States, which will ensure they play the Group B runners-up in the next round.

Brazil will top Group B with victory against Peru, so finishing first in their own pool is a prize worth pursuing for Colombia as it would likely see them avoid a tie against Dunga's men.

Juventus midfielder Juan Cuadrado started both of Colombia's wins over USA and Paraguay and is eager to finish the group stage on high.

The 28-year-old praised his country's strength in depth despite captain James Rodriguez standing out by netting in both games. 

"We are rested and thinking about what is coming," Cuadrado told Futbol Red. "I think it will be important for us to finish this first phase with a good result.

"When you're surrounded by good players it's easier to create the play. Not only James or [Edwin] Cardona, but all of us here are going to contribute. 

"There are no reserves - the ones left out want to prove themselves in their opportunity and I can feel comfortable playing with any of the guys that are here.

"Costa Rica are a great team, we know that the match against them will be difficult with the quality of players they have and the good team they are."

After a goalless draw in their opening game with Paraguay, Costa Rica were thumped 4-0 by USA last time out.

Oscar Ramirez's men now need a miraculous turnaround to reach the knockout stages and if USA defeat Paraguay in the other match, they are out regardless of their result against Colombia.

If USA and Paraguay draw, it will take a seven-goal margin of victory for Costa Rica to be absolutely sure of qualification. A six-goal win could be enough depending on how many USA score.

If Paraguay win, Costa Rica must better that victory margin by at least four goals.

Ramirez has lost Cristian Gamboa and Marco Urena to injury ahead of the match, while Oscar Duarte will be assessed ahead of kick-off.

"We know that there is a very small chance for us to qualify, but if we think positively the results can come," said midfielder Johan Venegas.