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Colombia’s James Rodriguez to miss World Cup qualifier against Venezuela

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Bogota: James Rodriguez will miss Colombia’s World Cup qualifier against Venezuela on Thursday but could be fit to play against Brazil five days later, according to his football club Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old, who joined Bayern from Real Madrid in July, has been sidelined since straining his right thigh while playing for the Bundesliga champions on August 1, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite concerns over Rodriguez’s fitness, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman last week named the midfielder in his 26-man squad for the upcoming matches.

In a statement, Bayern said the club’s medical team had ruled out the prospect of Rodriguez playing against Venezuela in San Cristobal.

“(He) will not be available for selection in the first match … (and) it remains to be seen if James will be available for the second match,” the German club said.

It added that a decision on Rodriguez’s availability for the clash against Brazil in Barranquilla would be made by Bayern doctor Volker Braun and Colombia’s national team medical staff.

Pekerman’s side are currently second in the South American zone CONMEBOL standings, nine points behind leaders Brazil with four matches remaining.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament will earn a direct berth at next year’s World Cup in Russia while the fifth-ranked team will advance to an intercontinental playoff.

IANS

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