Colombia to assess talisman


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Colombia will give talisman James Rodriguez every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of their opening World Cup fixture, according to Jose Pekerman.

Rodriguez stole the show at the 2014 World Cup as he helped Colombia reach the quarter-finals and ended the tournament as top scorer with six goals.

The 26-year-old went on to join Real Madrid off the back of his performances in Brazil and he has continued to develop over the last few years.

After falling down the pecking order under Zinedne Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, Rodriguez agreed to join German giants Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal last summer.

He played a key role in helping Bayern to retain their Bundesliga title, scoring seven goals and providing 11 assists.

However, his exploits domestically appear to have taken their toll on his fitness with Pekerman admitting his star man is struggling with fatigue and a minor calf problem.

Colombia, who are priced at 2.30 to win Group H outright, allowed the former Monaco playmaker to sit out of training over weekend and he now faces a race against time to be ready for Monday’s Group H opener with Japan in Saransk.

Pekerman is hopeful the extra rest will ease Rodriguez’s complaints as they look to get off to a winning start at the Mordovia Arena.

“We are waiting to see what the doctors will say after the last check,” Pekerman said.

“We always wait until the very last minute before we decide.”

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