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Izquierdo's World Cup Dream

22 May 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion winger Jose Izquierdo is hoping to fulfil a childhood dream when Colombia take their place at the FIFA World Cup Finals this year.
Izquierdo was named in Jose Pekerman’s provisional 35-man squad for the tournament last week, and believes his move to the Premier League has helped his international aspirations.
He said, “Since I was kid and ever since I could play football, the dream was to play at a World Cup.
“When I arrived at Brighton and in the Premier League, my expectations of being at the World Cup got much bigger.
“There is always pressure when you play football, especially when you are playing for your national team.
“As a player you have to be at the top level to deal with that pressure as well as possible. You need to keep your focus and do your best if you want to go to the World Cup.”
Colombia have been drawn in Group H alongside Japan, Senegal and Poland. Despite not being overly familiar with two of their group stage opponents, he is refusing to underestimate the challenges that lie ahead.
“All the national teams that qualified for this stage did so because they have the quality and important players that make a difference.
“Obviously we will treat all three teams with respect, but it’s important for us to show off Colombian football and prove that it’s in good shape.
“Hopefully we can improve on what we did in the last World Cup, and you never know what can happen in football.
“We played against Japan in Brazil; we haven’t played Senegal yet, but they have a great player in Sadio Mane. They will all be hard games.”
The winger also reflected on his first season in England, and has been pleased with his individual progress and that of the team.
“We are happy that we secured survival in the Premier League with two games to go.
“It was a massive first season for me, and to score my first goal against West Ham was a great sensation.
“Now some of the players will have their holidays to rest, but I will hopefully have a World Cup to think about instead!”

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