Colombia’s star striker Radamel Falcao won’t be able to represent the country he helped qualify for its first World Cup since 1998 after failing to recover from a January knee injury.
Falcao was left off head coach Jose Pekerman’s final 23-man roster for Brazil, announced in a Monday press conference from the team’s training facility in Buenos Aires, which is seen as a serious blow to the team’s fortunes at the tournament.
Falcao’s chances to be healthy enough to make the final roster were an open question after he suffered an ACL injury in January while with his club side Monaco. His recovery was reportedly ahead of schedule, but he said he just wasn’t match fit enough to help the side.
''We can say to all of Colombia that he did more than was within his power to play,'' Pekerman said at the press confeence. ''He deserved the right for us to wait and keep the hope alive.''
Falcao scored nine goals in South American qualifiers.
Defender Carlos Valdes, who is on loan at Argentine side San Lorenzo from the Philadelphia Union, made Pekerman’s final cut. Valdes, a 2012 MLS All-Star, has two goals in 12 appearances for the Tricolor.
Also on the 23-man roster is longtime national team goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who spent 2011 with the Union.
The team makes its debut in Group C June 14 in Belo Horizonte against Greece.
Colombia is a favorite to win the group, which also includes Japan and Ivory Coast.
Mario Yepes (Atalanta - Italy / 38yrs)
Cristian Zapata (AC Milan - Italy / 27yrs)
Pablo Armero (West Ham United - England / 27yrs)
Camilo Zúñiga (Napoli - Italy / 28yrs)
Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven - Holland / 22yrs)
Eder Álvarez Balanta (River Plate - Argentina / 21yrs)
Carlos Valdés (San Lorenzo - Argentina / 28yrs)
Fredy Guarín (Inter Milan - Italy / 27yrs)
Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina - Italy / 25yrs)
James Rodríguez (Monaco - France / 22yrs)
Abel Aguilar (Toulouse - France / 29yrs)
Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto - Portugal / 21yrs)
Carlos Sánchez (Elche - Spain / 28yrs)
Aldo Leao Ramírez (Morelia - Mexico / 33yrs)
Alexander Mejía (Atletico Nacional - Colombia / 25yrs)
Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari - Italy / 23yrs)
Jackson Martínez (Porto - Portugal / 27yrs)
Carlos Bacca (Sevilla - Spain / 27yrs)
Adrián Ramos (Hertha Berlin - Germany / 28yrs)
Teofilo Gutiérrez (River Plate - Argentina / 28yrs)