Colombia national football team
|Nickname(s)||Los Cafeteros (The Coffee Growers)
|Association||Federación Colombiana de Fútbol (FCF)|
|Confederation||CONMEBOL (South America)|
|Head coach||José Pékerman|
|Most caps||Carlos Valderrama (111)|
|Top scorer||Arnoldo Iguarán (25)|
|Home stadium||Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez|
|Highest FIFA ranking||3 (July 2013, August 2013)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||54 (June 2011)|
|Highest Elo ranking||5 (January – February 1994)|
|Lowest Elo ranking||93 (August 1965)|
| Mexico 3–1 Colombia
(Panama City, Panama; 10 February 1938)
| Argentina 0–5 Colombia
(Buenos Aires, Argentina; 5 September 1993)
Colombia 5–0 Uruguay
(Barranquilla, Colombia; 6 June 2004)
Colombia 5–0 Peru
(Barranquilla, Colombia; 4 June 2005)
Colombia 5–0 Bolivia
(Barranquilla, Colombia; 22 March 2013)
| Brazil 9–0 Colombia
(Lima, Peru; 24 March 1957)
|Appearances||5 (First in 1962)|
|Best result||Round of 16, 1990|
|Appearances||18 (First in 1945)|
|Best result||Winners, 2001|
|CONCACAF Gold Cup|
|Appearances||3 (First in 2000)|
|Best result||Runners-up, 2000|
|Appearances||1 (First in 2003)|
|Best result||4th, 2003|
The Colombia national football team represents Colombia in international football competitions and is controlled by the Colombian Football Federation. It is a member of the CONMEBOL. It is currently ranked 4th in the FIFA World Rankings, and ranked 6th in Elo World Rankings.
Colombia has made noticeable achievements throughout in their history. An historic achievement in world football, done by Colombia's team, is what midfielder Marcos Coll did in 1962 FIFA World Cup against the USSR football team. He is the only player ever to score an Olympic goal in FIFA World Cup history, where the match finished in a 4–4 tie after a spectacular coming back of Colombia from 4-0 to draw the match, making it also the biggest comeback in the history of a world cup. It is also noted that the USSR had Lev Yashin (considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers in the football history) in the starting lineup. Colombia had its strongest period during the 1990s where they were among the giants in world football. A match during this period in 1993 resulted in a 5–0 win over Argentina which caused a special 'mutual respect' rivalry between both nations. The goalkeeper René Higuita achieved fame from his eccentric scorpion kick clearance against England at Wembley in 1995. At the 2001 Copa America, Óscar Córdoba became the first and only goal keeper in history to keep a perfect clean sheet in a Copa America. Other stars from Colombia's team included Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla. During this era Colombia qualified for the 1990, 1994, and 1998 editions of the World Cup, only reaching the second round in 1990.
Colombia suffered over three World Cup cycles between 2002 to 2010, failing to be as strong as it had been in the 1990s, and they did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup in this period. Colombia has had problems throughout this era living up to the legacy of the older generations that raised the team's reputation.
However, in recent times during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Colombia has played with a new talented golden generation since the 2011 Copa America, bringing its current rank to 4th place in the FIFA world rankings. Returning in the top 10 for the first time since 2002, nearly 10 years around the end of the previous golden era and into the top 5 in the end of 2012 for the first time since 2004. Since 1998 and after a sixteen year long wait, Colombia finally returned after qualifying to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Since the mid-1980s, the Colombian National team has been a stronghold fighting the negative stereotypes towards the country's reputation. This has also made the sport very popular and made the national team a sign of nationalism, pride, and passion for many Colombians world wide. Thus, Colombia is known for having a very passionate fan base in both national and international games world wide.
They were the champions of the 2001 Copa América, which they hosted and set a new record of being undefeated, conceding no goals and winning each match. Prior to that success they were runners-up to Peru in the 1975 Copa América. In total, Colombia has gained a top 4 result in 7 Copa Americas. Colombia was the first team to win FIFA best mover in 1993 where the achievement was first introduced and the second team after Croatia to win it twice with the second being in 2012. The team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country.
- 1 History
- 1.1 1962 FIFA World Cup
- 1.2 Aftermath and growth of La Selección
- 1.3 1990 FIFA World Cup
- 1.4 1994 FIFA World Cup
- 1.5 1998 FIFA World Cup
- 1.6 2001 Copa América
- 1.7 2002 FIFA World Cup
- 1.8 After Copa América 2007
- 1.9 2010 World Cup and Aftermath
- 1.10 2011 Copa América
- 1.11 2014 FIFA World Cup Cycle
- 2 Schedule and results
- 3 Rivalries
- 4 Players
- 5 Individual records
- 6 Coaching staff
- 7 Kit
- 8 Competitive record
- 9 Honours
- 10 Managers
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
- 15 Titles
Colombia played its first official matches at the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games. The Colombia national football team was composed mostly by all the players of the Club Juventud Bogotana (now Millonarios FC). Alfonso Novoa was the manager of Colombia until 23 February.
The first game was played on 10 February 1938 against Mexico. Colombia was defeated 1–3; Luis Argüelles, Luis de la Fuente and Horacio Casarín scored for Mexico, Marcos Mejía scored for Colombia. Colombia was able to obtain the bronze medal, with two wins and three losses. The same year Colombia played at the I Bolivarian Games in Bogotá, where they were 4th with one win and three losses. Fernando Paternoster was the manager of Colombia, being the first foreign manager of the team.
Colombia did not play again until 1945 when they participated for the first time at the South American Championship, where they were 5th. This time, Colombia was composed by players of Junior de Barranquilla, except for Antonio de la Hoz, who played for Sporting de Barranquilla, and Pedro Ricardo López, who played for Boca Juniors de Cali. Roberto Meléndez was player and coach of Colombia throughout the tournament.
The first match of Colombia in the professional era was played on 6 April in the 1949 South American Championship, a 3–0 defeat against Paraguay. The Austrian coach Friedrich Donnenfeld was the manager of Colombia during the tournament. He had moved with his family to Colombia due to the Second World War, and Atlético Junior would be his first team as a coach. As Junior was chosen to represent Colombia in the tournament, he became in the first European manager of the Colombia national team. However, the team repeated their losing streak since, as in the previous tournament, ended 8th with 2 draws and 5 losses, scoring 4 goals.
After a withdrew in 1938 and getting banned in 1954 (due to the controversial El Dorado era), Colombia participated for the first time in qualifying for the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden. Their first match was on 16 June 1957 against Uruguay in Bogotá, that ended in a 1–1 draw. Colombia lost their next matches, leaving them at the bottom of the group.
1962 FIFA World Cup
In the 1962 qualifiers, they faced Peru in a two-game series and qualified for their first World Cup. At Chile 1962, Colombia lost 2–1 to South American champions Uruguay in their opening match. They then drew 4–4 with the reigning European champions Soviet Union in one of biggest shocks at Chile 1962. It should be noted that in this game, Colombia scored four goals against Soviet goalkeepr Lev Yashin, widely considered the best goalkeeper in football history. Also in that game, Marcos Coll scored the only Olympic goal in World Cup history. Additionally, in coming back from three goals down to draw the match, the Colombians completed the biggest comeback to draw in World Cup history (a feat decades later shared with Uruguay since their 3–3 draw with Senegal in the 2002 World Cup). Unfortunately, the Colombian campaign in 1962 ended with a 5–0 defeat to Euro 1960 runners-up Yugoslavia, so they went out in the group stage.
Aftermath and growth of La Selección
Colombia entered the 1966 qualifiers and finished bottom of their group behind Chile and Ecuador. The 1970 qualifiers proved to be little better. Shortly before the 1970 World Cup Colombia played a friendly against England losing 4–0, in a game which was overshadowed by the Bogotá Bracelet incident. In the 1974 qualifiers, Colombia finished behind Uruguay only on goal difference. In the 1975 Copa América, Colombia finished runners-up, losing to Peru 2–0.
For the 1990 World Cup, South America was allocated three-and-a-half berths at the 1990 finals. The continent's nine remaining sides were split into three groups with the two automatic qualifying berths going to the two best group winners, in this instance Uruguay and Brazil. The group winner with the worst record would advance to the CONMEBOL / OFC Intercontinental Play-off. Thus Colombia had to take on the winners of the Oceania zone. Curiously, this turned out to be Israel, after they finished ahead of Australia and New Zealand in the final qualifying group. Colombia qualified for their first FIFA World Cup since Chile 1962 after winning in Barranquilla 1–0, and tying in Israel 0–0.
1990 FIFA World Cup
At Italia '90, Colombia defeated United Arab Emirates 2–0, lost to Yugoslavia 1–0, and earned their place in the Round of Sixteen after a dramatic 1–1 draw with West Germany, which would later win the Cup.
During their Round of Sixteen match against Cameroon, the game went into extra time after a 0–0 draw. In an unfortunate moment, goalkeeper René Higuita failed to protect the ball 35 yards (32 m) from the goal line, enabling Cameroon striker Roger Milla to snatch it from him, and score Cameroon's decisive second goal. Milla struck twice, giving Cameroon a 2–0 lead in extra time. Colombia would score in the 115th minute, but were unable to get an equalizer.
1994 FIFA World Cup
Colombia finished top of their qualifying group without having lost a match, which included a historic 5–0 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires. Expectations of the team were high, some even naming them as favourites to win the tournament.
The match between Colombia and Romania was the first game for either side in the group phase. Romania took the lead in the 16th minute with their first attack of the match when Raducioiu took on three defenders before firing home a low shot. On the half-hour mark, Hagi made it 2–0 when he noticed Córdoba out of position and dipped a cross over his head into the net. Valencia pulled a goal back for the Colombians in the 43rd minute when he headed in a corner from Perez. In the second half, Raducioiu put the result beyond doubt with his second goal in the final few minutes.
The team went into their second group game against the United States knowing they had to win to have any chance of progressing. On the 35th minute Andrés Escobar attempted to cut out a cross but accidentally deflected the ball into his own net. Earnie Stewart took the US two goals in front after scoring in the 56th minute. Valencia scored a consolation goal for Colombia in the closing minutes of the match. They did win their final group match 2–0 over Switzerland, but it was not enough to help them progress. Tragically, Escobar died on 2 July 1994 as it is believed that his own goal, vs the United States.
1998 FIFA World Cup
Colombia began their qualification rounds in South America well and ended in third place with 28 points, 2 points below Argentina who was in 1st place with 30 points. They ended in Group G with Tunisia, England, and Romania.
In their opening match, Adrian Ilie of Valencia CF gave Romania a 1–0 victory over Colombia after he placed a magnificent chip shot in the 44th minute from some 15 yards (14 m) that sailed over goalkeeper Farid Mondragón into the net.
Colombia's second match was against Tunisia. Colombia's Leider Preciado struck seven minutes from the end to give a 1–0 win. Although England needed only a draw to guarantee a place in the Final 16, Darren Anderton drove home a fiercely struck angled drive in the 20th minute. David Beckham curled in a 30-yard (27 m) free kick nine minutes later and England won the game 2–0. Colombia was thus eliminated.
2001 Copa América
Colombia's exit at France '98 marked the end of an era, as many expected, but one last moment of glory came at Copa América 2001.
The Copa América in 2001 was held in Colombia, from 11 to 29 July. It was organised by CONMEBOL, South America's football governing body. Prior to the tournament, three meetings were held by CONMEBOL authorities who were concerned about potential security issues in Colombia, for what Venezuela offered to host the competition. At the last minute, CONMEBOL decided to return the organization to Colombia, and the tournament was held on schedule. Complaining for the sudden decision, and claiming that Argentine players had received death threats from terrorist groups, the Argentine Football Association decided to withdraw from the competition. Because Canada and Argentina withdrew, on 6 and 10 July respectively, Honduras and Costa Rica were invited. There were no terrorist incidents within the competition. Colombia was placed in Group A with Venezuela, Chile, and Ecuador, and they finished on top of the group with nine points.
Hosts Colombia won their first Copa América title by beating Mexico in Bogotá. Their captain Iván Córdoba scored the decisive goal early in the second half with a header from a free kick. It was a fairytale success for Colombia after the decision to go ahead with the tournament after it had initially been cancelled. Even the fact that Argentina, regarded by most observers as the strongest side in the region, elected not to take part and that most countries fielded weakened teams failed to dampen the celebrations in Bogotá. It was also noted the following year that Brazil was then considered to be the strongest in the region at the time following their 2002 FIFA World Cup victory thus making the event 'legit'. This is also credited to the fact that Argentina failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2002 World Cup.
2002 FIFA World Cup
For Korea/Japan 2002, hopes were high for Colombia, but a weak attack and internal turmoil crushed their hopes. Colombia only managed to place sixth in the qualification round. Uruguay and Colombia had both 27 points but due to goal difference, Uruguay advanced to the play-offs with Australia.
After Copa América 2007
After Copa América 2007, the Colombian national football team boomed with recent success in the South American 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. After embarrassing losses against Paraguay, and Argentina in the Copa América, many Colombians nonetheless anticipated a successful run for 2010 FIFA World Cup classification. In the first match of the qualifying round, Colombia, defying expectations that they would lose to Brazil, drew 0–0 with Brazil at home. Not long after that, Colombia surprisingly tied 0–0 again with Bolivia national football team, but many argue that this was largely due to the fact that the altitude of La Paz contributes to usual losses or ties for non-Bolivian teams. However, Colombia would find their very first win after defeating a weak Venezuela national football team 1–0, with a stupendous free kick courtesy of Rubén Darío Bustos. In their next game, Colombia would defy expectations again by beating Argentina, at the time ranked first in the world. On 17 November 2007, In Bogotá against Argentina, Lionel Messi beat the defense before scoring past goalkeeper Agustín Julio. Colombia turned the game around in the second half, however, when Rubén Darío Bustos got his second free kick goal of the qualifying campaign, and not long after that, Dayro Moreno scored his first international goal for Colombia. Colombia won the match 2–1, obtaining 4th place in the World Cup qualifiers. On 14 June 2008 Colombia tied Peru 1–1 moving Colombia up to 3rd place in the world cup qualifiers after a Brazilian loss to Paraguay. Another 0–0 between Ecuador and Colombia in Quito was on 18 June 2008 and Colombia remain at 3rd place and as the only undefeated country in the qualification after Bolivia won Paraguay 4–2. Successive defeats to Uruguay and Paraguay at home, and a thrashing away to Chile, however, left Colombia in an extremely dangerous position knocking them out of the top five and forcing them to set their sights on the fifth play-off spot only. As of 25 September 2009, they are eighth after a 3–1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay in Montevideo. On 10 October 2009, Colombia lost 4–2 in Colombia against Chile, losing any possibility of assisting to 2010 World Cup. After that, on 14 October 2009, they played their last qualification match against Paraguay, in Asunción, Paraguay, beating 2–0 and finishing in 7th place in the table standings with 23 points, one point behind Uruguay, who went on to compete in the play-offs, and eventually play in the World Cup.
2010 World Cup and Aftermath
Colombia failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, mainly because their constant change of formations and struggles to score goals in the last games of the qualification. They played an Exhibition Match against South Africa a month before the World Cup started, which they lost 2–1. The game was the first soccer match played in the recently built Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. All three goals of the match were scored by penalty kicks, and the match was highly criticized because both of the South Africa penalty kicks did not seem to be fouls at all, and because of the reported partiality of the referee towards the South Africa team. Another Exhibition Match was played in England against Nigeria, a match that ended in a 1–1 draw. Both matches were the first ones that coach Hernán Darío Gómez directed after his designation and return to Colombia's coaching. With a 2–0 win over Venezuela, and a 1–0 win against Ecuador, they wanted success over USA (which ended 0–0). In between all that they lost to Mexico 1–0. Los Cafeteros tied with Peru 1–1 but loss in an action packed duel against champions Spain 1–0. They successfully defeated Ecuador again 2–0 but suffered a 2–0 defeat to Chile in March even after many goal attempts. Colombia had beaten Hounduras 2–0 after two spectacular goals from Teo, although many fans complain games such as this one aren't testing their full potential. In Ft. Lauderdale, Colombia beat Jamaica 2–0 with Jackson Martinez and Teo scoring to test Leonel Álvarez's side as a coach.
2011 Copa América
In Copa América 2011, Colombia showed great skill beating Costa Rica 1–0 goal given by Adrian Ramos thanks to an assist by Fredy Guarin. Colombia with an epic match against Argentina dominating the game almost entirely although suffered by their weakness in goal scoring thus ending 0–0. Finally, they crushed Bolivia 2–0 both goals by Radamel Falcao one by penalty. This resulted in shocking the host nation Argentina, who were favorites to win the group. After that they confronted Peru with high expectations. Before extra time, Falcao was given a penalty only to miss by a wide shot and forcing into extra time. Colombia lost 2–0 after a mistake by defense as Mario Yepes had accidentally tripped goal keeper Neco Martínez who conceded no goals up to this point allowing Peruvian player Carlos Lobatón a clear shot. Martinez later had mistakenly kicked the ball to Juan Manuel Vargas who sealed the victory for Peru.
2014 FIFA World Cup Cycle
The Colombian side started very well in their FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifications by beating Bolivia 2–1 in La Paz and a difficult match versus Venezuela that ended 1–1 in Barranquilla, Colombia. Colombia then lost to Argentina 1–2 after losing both star players Falcao and Guarin due to injuries. Colombia's manager Leonel Álvarez was sacked after the loss, after being on the job for barely 3 months. Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama criticized the Colombian soccer federation for firing Álvarez prematurely. By the beginning of 2012, José Pékerman became the new coach of the national team. In early 2012, Colombia showed great skill defeating 2011 Golden Cup winners Mexico 2–0 in what was Pékerman's first friendly where he took control of the game almost entirely.
However Pékerman then experimented with a new system, barely granting Colombia a 1–0 over Peru and then leading to a shocking 0–1 loss to Ecuador, sending Colombia out of the qualifying range. However, Colombia bounced back with a shocking win, crushing Copa America winners Uruguay 4–0, ending their undefeated streak since the 2010 World Cup. Some commentators believed Barranquilla's heat was the cause of such a big win. though Los Cafeteros though once again showed their skill by beating Chile from a goal down 1–3 in another shock, this time in an away victory. Colombia won a comfortable 2–0 home victory against Paraguay during the qualifiers, ending the first half of the CONMEBOL qualification. A few days later, Pékerman removed some of their star players for a friendly experiment with Cameroon winning another home victory in a 3–0 result. In an epic duel with 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil, Colombia scored first in a game that ended 1–1.
For their first match of 2013, Pékerman had another successful experiment in a 4–1 win against Guatemala using most of his subs before allowing the normal starters to play. Continuing the 2nd half the CONMEBOL qualifiers, Colombia enjoyed a comfortable 5–0 win over Bolivia. However, Colombia suffered days later in a shocking 1–0 loss to Venezuela at an away game, where head coach Jose Pékerman proposed a different formation (4–4–1–1). In the match against South American leaders Argentina, Colombia played a very controversial match, where both teams were red carded a player in the first half, and 8 yellow cards were called, leading to a difficult goalless draw. Days later, Colombia dominated Peru in a 2–0 victory.
In August, Colombia had a friendly experiment against Serbia, where late substitute Fredy Guarín scored the winning goal in the 88th minute, resulting in a 1–0 victory. Colombia continued on with the final stages of the World Cup qualifiers, beating a tough defensive 10-man Ecuador with a 1–0 victory, which guaranteed them a play-off spot. However, Colombia failed to seal automatic qualification against Uruguay, where they only needed a draw but lost 2–0.
In the following match against Chile on 11 October, Colombia shockingly gave up 3 goals in the first 30 minutes, but came back with 3 goals of their own after Jose Pekerman made crucial sub changes into the second half. That eventually influenced a Chilean red card within the next 15 minutes as well, thus allowing them to tie the game and qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 16 years. Days later, Colombia topped off their qualification against Paraguay, where they gave up an early goal to Paraguay and then had a man sent off with a red card, but got two goals from their longtime captain Yepes to win the game 2-1 and finish second in the group with 30 points.
In a friendly match against a promising Belgian side, Colombia ended their 1 year undefeated streak with a 0–2 away victory. Colombia topped off their 2013 season with an entertaining (although aggressive) duel against the Netherlands in a 0–0 result following an red card to a Dutch player.
Schedule and results
|6 February 2013||Miami, United States||Guatemala||4–1||F||Martínez 23' 33' Aguilar 56' Muriel 81'|
|22 March 2013||Barranquilla, Colombia||Bolivia||5–0||WCQ||Torres 20' Valdés 50' Gutiérrez 62' Falcao 86' Armero 90'+3'|
|26 March 2013||Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela||Venezuela||0–1||WCQ|
|7 June 2013||Buenos Aires, Argentina||Argentina||0–0||WCQ|
|11 June 2013||Barranquilla, Colombia||Peru||2–0||WCQ||Falcao 13' Gutiérrez 45'|
|14 August 2013||Barcelona, Spain||Serbia||1–0||F||Guarín 87'|
|6 September 2013||Barranquilla, Colombia||Ecuador||1–0||WCQ||J. Rodríguez 31'|
|10 September 2013||Montevideo, Uruguay||Uruguay||0–2||WCQ|
|11 October 2013||Barranquilla, Colombia||Chile||3–3||WCQ||Gutiérrez 69' Falcao 75' (pen.) 84' (pen.)|
|15 October 2013||Asunción, Paraguay||Paraguay||2–1||WCQ||Yepes 38' 56'|
|14 November 2013||Brussels, Belgium||Belgium||2–0||F||Falcao 51' Ibarbo 66'|
|19 November 2013||Amsterdam, Netherlands||Netherlands||0–0||F|
|14 June 2014||Belo Horizonte, Brazil||Greece||WC|
|19 June 2014||Brasília, Brazil||Ivory Coast||WC|
|24 June 2014||Cuiabá, Brazil||Japan||WC|
KEY: F = Friendly WCQ = World Cup Qualifiers
With political issues with history/culture related nations Ecuador and Venezuela, Colombia has always taken interest. While Colombia has natural rival matches with neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela, the matches aren't as popular as the rival matches against Argentina.
The historical victory for Colombia in 1993 beating host Argentina in the 1993 World Cup qualifiers was the very first time Argentina lost in its home stadium Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti during a qualifying match for a world cup. An impressive 5–0 victory, many figures such as Diego Maradona expected Argentina to 'crush' Colombia entirely. Especially when Argentina were previous 2 time FIFA World Cup winners. Thus, it caused a huge upset and start of a respective rivalries. Unlike other rivalries full of hostility, the Colombian-Argentinean rivalry is more based on 'respect' than a 'hated' relationship always attracting great interest between both nations, evidenced by the applauding Argentinean crowd after Colombia's 5–0 victory proving the respect for Colombia. Thus the Colombian-Argentinean rivalry has been considered 'unique' and 'special'. In a way, the Colombian-Argentinean relationship is viewed as 'sparring partners' in world football.
Caps and goals updated as 19 November 2013.
The following players have been recently called up in the last 12 months.
Still active players are highlighted