Porto's Jackson Martinez celebrates his goal against Benfica during their Portuguese Premier League soccer match at Dragao stadium in Porto May 10, 2014.
Porto's Jackson Martinez celebrates his goal against Benfica during their Portuguese Premier League match Reuters

Manager: Jose Nestor Pekerman.

World Ranking: 5.

How they qualified: Colombia booked their place in the World Cup with eight wins, two draws and four losses.

Fixtures: Group C - Greece (14 June), Ivory Coast (19 June), Japan (24 June).

Squad -

Goalkeepers: David Opsina (Niza), Faryd Mondragon (ex-Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe).

Defenders: Mario Yepes (Atalanta), Cristian Zapata (Milan), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo), Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Eder Juan Camilo Zuñiga (Napoli), Pablo Armero (West Ham United).

Midfielders: Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional), Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari).

Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate), Jackson Martinez (Porto).

Expectations: Colombia return to the World Cup after a 16-year absence (the last time Colombia graced a World Cup was at France 1998) with probably the best team in its history, even without the presence of star Radamel Falcao. Pekerman has built a solid team, which concede very few goals and for the first time reached the qualifying round with 30 points.

The required minimum objective will be to get through the group phase of the competition. That would equal their best performance. But making it to the quarter-finals for the first time would be a remarkable achievement.

Star man: Jackson Martinez – Falcao will not be playing in the World Cup after failing to recover from a serious knee injury suffered in January.

Falcao's absence passes Colombia's goal-poaching responsibility to Jackson Martinez. The Porto striker - who has been in fine form this season and scored 20 goals in 30 league appearances - will be the main threat in the Colombia squad. Even though the 27-year-old will be the player in charge of making the difference up front, Carlos Bacca and James Rodriguez in midfield will be crucial too.

Prediction: Group stage – Colombia return to the World Cup after three tournament absences. Though they appear as group favourites, it won't be easy, especially with Falcao's absence. Majority of the team are youngsters without World Cup experience.

Greece, with Fernando Santos in charge and Konstantinos Mitroglou in great form, will try to prove they are a solid and compact team. Ivory Coast are a mystery, with Didier Drogba, Gervinho and Yaya Toure have their last chance to do something great. Finally, Japan are very unpredictable, especially when they are out of Asia.