Colombia are in one of the automatic qualifying positions for the World Cup, so know two wins in their two remaining games will take them to Russia. And they stand a good chance of being seeded if they can pick up six points.
Russia will be seeded as hosts, and joined by the top seven qualifiers based upon the October FIFA World Ranking, which is published after the next round of qualifiers.
But how can this be achieved by Colombia in the Dec. 1 group-stage draw?
1. Win both remaining group qualifiers
Colombia can only realistically get enough ranking points to be in contention if they win both their remaining qualifiers — at home to Paraguay and away to in-form Peru. That will give them 1,290 ranking points, and mean they can be no lower than eighth in the October ranking — so they will still need a bit of help.
2. Get a bit of help from elsewhere
Eighth place would not be enough for Colombia to be seeded at the World Cup finals, but they only need a result to go their way.
Guaranteed to be seeded (if they qualify) are: Russia (as hosts), Germany, Brazil (already qualified), Portugal (unless they lose to Andorra) and Argentina.
This leaves at least three places open, and with Colombia guaranteed to be no lower than eighth in the October ranking with two wins they will most likely need one of the following to happen to be in the top seven:
– Argentina fail to qualify
– Portugal fail to qualify
– Germany fail to qualify
– Belgium fail to beat either Bosnia and Herzegovina (away) or Cyprus
– Poland fail to beat one of Armenia (away) or Montenegro
– Switzerland fail to beat either Hungary or Portugal (away)
3. What about if Colombia draw a game?
A draw in Peru would leave them on 1,205 ranking points so would not completely rule them out, but it’s very unlikely they would have enough points to be a World Cup seed.
Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years. You can follow him on Twitter @dalejohnsonESPN.