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Saturday, Sep 19th

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The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team fell short in its bid to reach the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio after a 2-1 defeat to Colombia in the Olympic Qualifying Playoff - 2nd Leg before 7,998 fans at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday night.

A pair of goals from Colombia's Roger Martinez either side a Deiver Machado own goal handed the South Americans an overall 3-2 aggregate win in the two-game playoff series. Colombia is awarded the last available berth to this summer's Olympic Games. 

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The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team will face off with Colombia in a home-and-away playoff in March of 2016 for the final berth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. earned its spot in the playoff after finishing third in the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship, while Colombia earned its place after finishing in second place in the 2015 South American Youth Championship.

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A defensive error from Serey Die proved to be the difference between the two sides as Colombia beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in an exciting contest to go top of Group C and all but book their place in the knockout rounds. After a rather dull first half that witnessed virtually no goal mouth action whatsover, the match came to life in the 64th minute when Colombian sensation James Rodriguez scored with a bullet header from a corner to put his side a goal to the good.

Within 6 minutes, the Colombians had extended their advantage to 2-0 with substitute Juan Quintero getting on the end of a generous pass from Teofilo Gutierrez, after Die was caught on the ball in midfield with his full backs high up the pitch and the 22 year old Colombian stroked home at the end of a 3-on-2 counter attack.

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The striker merry-go-round in the post-season promises to be an eventful one if the rumours are to be believed and central to the whole plot is one Radamel Falcao. The Colombian hitman is being actively chased by Manchester City and Chelsea in the Premier League and the future destination of the Atletico Madrid striker will decide plenty of other transfers.

Chelsea are likely to offload Fernando Torres in the summer and the Spaniard received a call for redemption from Atletico’s manager Diego Simeone over the weekend as the Argentine said this about Torres to the Daily Mail: “Right now Fernando's playing for another team and we will have to wait until the end of the season, and we have to decide which players could come here.” Torres has been given plenty of opportunities to regain his old touch but he has failed to grasp them and the end is nigh for Britain's most expensive buy.

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In the last edition of the year of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, there have been a few shuffles among the top ten but the teams remain the same. Spain still lead the table ahead of Germany and Argentina, newly followed by Italy (4th, up 1) and Colombia, who have gone up three places and are now in fifth place.

World and European champions Spain lead the final ranking of the year for the fifth time in a row, securing themselves once again the title of Team of the Year. The highest climbers of 2012, thanks to six wins, one draw and only one defeat, are Colombia, who have collected no less than 455 points since December 2011, moving up 31 places and gaining the title of Mover of the Year for the second time since 1993. It has also been a very successful year for Ecuador (13th, up 365 points since December 2011) and Mali (25th, up 337 points since December 2011).

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Argentina continued to set the pace in the South American World Cup Qualifying group as Lionel Messi inspired them to a 3-0 victory over Uruguay last night. The Colombians stayed in touch with Argentina after a 2-0 defeat of Paraguay courtesy of a brace from Radamel Falcao. Ecuador also marched on with a 3-1 victory over Colombia while Bolivia drew 1-1 with Peru.

The Argentines were frustrated by the Uruguayans for most of the 1st half, with Messi the only attacker coming close for the home side. They had to wait until the 2nd half to break open the Uruguayan defence and unsurprisingly it was the little magician who was at the heart of the move as he fed the ball to Angel Di Maria on the left and raced into the box to meet the square pass to put Argentina 1-0 ahead after 55 minutes. The pair were involved for the 2nd goal ten minutes later, with a similar move ending with Sergio Aguero turning in the cross from close range. Messi then capped off a satisfactory evening's work by rolling a free-kick under the wall in the 80th minute. The Albiceleste sit atop the standings with 19 times, five ahead of Uruguay in 4th spot.

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The October edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking reflects the 136 matches played in the past month, 76 of which were qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Leaders Spain and Germany now find themselves closely pursued by Portugal (3rd, up 1) and Argentina (4th, up 3), who both managed to secure wins in their recent qualifying matches. Colombia (9th, up 13) have moved back into the top ten for the first time since July 2002 thanks to their two impressive victories over Chile (3-1) and South American champions Uruguay (4-0).

Similarly, 2004 European champions Greece (10th, up 1) find themselves back among the world's best teams after an absence of exactly one year thanks to their opening wins in Group G against Lithuania (110th, up 6) and Latvia (118th, down 24). The teams that have slipped out of the top ten are Croatia (11th, down 2) and Denmark (18th, down 8), with both having failed to secure wins last time out.

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