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Soccer-Colombia to make late call on Falcao, says Pekerman

Reuters

BUENOS AIRES, May 24 (Reuters) - Colombia will wait until the last minute to decide whether to pick recuperating striker Radamel Falcao in their final World Cup squad, coach Jose Pekerman said on Saturday.

"I'll wait until the last day, until the last hour, the last minute, to give out my list of 23," Pekerman said when he arrived in Buenos Aires with his squad.

"We've had lots of problems, from Falcao's injury, (Camilo) Zuniga's, and some players who haven't had minutes with their (club) teams. We have to evaluate all that," he told reporters.

Falcao is recovering from knee surgery while fullback Zuniga has recently regained fitness after a knee operation in October.

Pekerman must name his final 23-man squad by June 2 for the tournament in Brazil starting 10 days later in which Colombia face Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan in Group C.

The coach arrived in his home city with 26 players for the countdown to Colombia's first finals since 1998 with warm-up matches lined up against Senegal on May 31 and Jordan on June 6 in the Argentine capital.

Falcao will join them next week from Monaco, where he has been doing his rehabilitation from knee surgery since January.

Pekerman has already dropped defender Aquivaldo Mosquera and midfielders Macnelly Torres and Elkin Soto from the provisional 30-man squad he named last week.

Revised Squad:

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe)

Defenders: Mario Yepes (AC Milan), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Pablo Armero (West Ham United), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Luis Amaranto Perea (Cruz Azul), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo)

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

Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Luis Fernando Muriel (Udinese), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate) (Reporting by Luis Ampuero; Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Michael Hann)

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