Colombia hasn't qualified for a World Cup since 1998, but the fifth ranked team in the world is a top South American contender. With a roster filled with stars in top European leagues, Colombia has a good chance of making it out of its evenly-matched group of Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan. If Colombia burst onto the world football stage in the past 18-months, nearly topping the South American qualifier, the country's economy is similarly vibrant. "The re-emergence of Colombia as a regional football power has coincided with the strengthening of its economy over the last several years," Goldman Sachs economists note. Tailwinds include a commodity boom across Colombia's agriculture, energy and mining industries. High marks on macroeconomic policy and steps to settle a half century conflict with the FARC have also helped. Real GDP in Colombia has grown 4.7% on average since the 2010, while inflation is stable. Colombia is one of Goldman's preferred economies in Latin America, and Los Cafeteros are a solid pick to advance deep into World Cup knockout rounds.
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