Colombia's chances of winning the World Cup took a big hit on Tuesday when it was announced that striker Radamel Falcao would not be able to participate in this year's tournament.
But even without him, Colombia is still the favorite to win Group C at 2-3 over Ivory Coast, Japan and Greece.
There isn't much doubt that Colombia will miss its star striker. Falcao, who wasn't able to recover from a knee injury in time to play in the World Cup, scored one-third of the team's goals during qualifiers.
With that said, Colombia is still loaded with offensive talent and should be led on offense by attacking midfielder James Rodriguez and winger Juan Cuadrado. In a group that doesn't feature any juggernauts, the fast-paced, attacking Colombian squad should be able to set the tempo and control most of its matches.
Colombia is going off at 33-1 to win the World Cup.
While Colombia received bad news on the injury front, Ivory Coast backers received good news when Yaya Toure was officially named to the 23-man roster. Toure enjoyed a sensational season for Manchester City with 20 goals and nine assists in 35 appearances.
But his status for the World Cup was up in the air when he injured his hamstring late in the season. With the announcement that Toure had made the team, Ivory Coast's odds to win Group C jumped from 4-1 to 7-2. The team is still a long shot to win the World Cup, however, at 125-1.
Japan (4-1 to win Group C) is a well-respected side that relies on strong technical play all around instead of on star power. A draw against the Netherlands and a win over Belgium over the last year show how dangerous the squad can be, making it a solid dark horse to emerge out of this group should Colombia or Ivory Coast falter.
Midfielders Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa are the leaders on offense, but a forward group led by Shinji Okazaki will need to have a strong showing for Japan to have a shot at advancing.
Greece (7-1) may not be a very exciting side, but it isn't a pushover, either. The defensive-minded squad is extremely stingy and more than capable of forcing a draw or two in the role of spoiler in Group C.
It will be hard for Greece to do much more than that, though, with a relatively weak attack.
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