World Cup qualifying preview: Colombia v Ecuador

Colombia gave their World Cup qualification hopes a shot in the arm by beating Bolivia and they seek a further three points versus Ecuador.

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James Rodriguez plans to continue letting his football do the talking when Colombia host Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

The Real Madrid playmaker has faced criticism at times this season due to his patchy form in La Liga, while his fitness has also been questioned.

However, James set his club troubles to one side by putting in an impressive showing in Colombia's dramatic 3-2 win in Bolivia last Thursday, scoring the first and providing the second for Carlos Bacca.

And James, Golden Boot winner at the 2014 World Cup, insists he is unperturbed by his critics.

"People will always talk. I just try to train every day as hard as I can," he said. 

"What people comment outside of the game does not matter to me I just try to work hard and play well and help so that we can all win.

"I always want to win, I always want to help the team. Here, I am just one more player. I am here to help and make sure that we win. In the last 10 minutes [against Bolivia] I was exhausted, but I wanted to help."

Head coach Jose Pekerman also defended his captain, saying: "He's a true leader, not just with football talent but also with commitment."

Colombia's victory in the gruelling La Paz altitude against Bolivia came about in dramatic circumstances, substitute Edwin Cardona scoring an injury-time winner after the hosts had fought back from 2-0 down.

It was a crucial three points for Colombia, who had won just once in four qualifying matches before the game, and they are just one point adrift of the qualifying places in the CONMEBOL group.

Next up is an Ecuador side who are top thanks to four wins and a draw from their five matches, Angel Mena scoring a 92nd-minute equaliser against Paraguay last time out to preserve their unbeaten status.

Head coach Gustavo Quinteros, who has called up striker Diego Rojas for the trip to Barranquilla, concedes Ecuador were not at their best versus Paraguay.

"We did not play to our best level," he said. "We did not look cohesive in defence or in attack. You cannot always play well."

Centre-back Frickson Erazo added: "We have to forget about Paraguay and focus on the visit to Colombia and try to return with three points."

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