- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Colombia is the favorite in Group C, there’s not much doubt about that. That leaves Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan to play for the group’s other spot in the round of 16 at this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Here’s five things to know about Group C:

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FOCUS ON FALCAO

After the draw in December, Colombia was made an early favorite to advance from Group C. But that was before Colombia striker Radamel Falcao damaged ligaments in his left knee in a French Cup game against an amateur team.

Doctors give the Monaco forward a 50-50 chance of recovering from the January injury in time to make the World Cup squad.

“It’s too early to say what will happen. I’d rather wait before making a decision,” the 28-year-old Falcao said in a recent radio interview. “It’s tough to be away from the matches. I miss everything: the training, the travel, the match build up … But I’m doing my exercises and I’m happy with the results.”

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COFFEE GROWERS

The “Coffee Growers” from Colombia rolled through qualifying, even routing Uruguay 4-0 on their way to earning 30 points from 16 matches.

Falcao sealed qualification with two late goals against Chile, coming from behind for a 3-3 home draw.

Under Argentine coach Jose Pekerman, Colombia has blossomed, rising from 35th place in the world rankings to the top five and their first World Cup in 16 years.

Pekerman’s opening match is against Greece, Europe’s defensive stalwarts who conceded only four goals in 10 qualifiers.

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SO LONG SANTOS

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