Cuba national football team

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Cuba
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Leones del Caribe (Lions of the Caribbean)
Association Football Association of Cuba
Sub-confederation CFU (Caribbean)
Confederation CONCACAF
(North America)
Head coach Walter Benítez
Most caps Odelín Molina (122)
Top scorer Lester Moré (29)
Home stadium Estadio Pedro Marrero
FIFA code CUB
FIFA ranking 122 Increase 2 (18 September 2014)
Highest FIFA ranking 46 (November 2006)
Lowest FIFA ranking 175 (December 1994)
Elo ranking 108
Highest Elo ranking 52 (February 2005)
Lowest Elo ranking 143 (January 1965)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Cuba 3–1 Jamaica 
(Havana, Cuba; March 16, 1930)
Biggest win
 Cuba 9–0 Puerto Rico 
(Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep.; May 27, 1995)
Biggest defeat
 Sweden 8–0 Cuba Cuba
(Antibes, France; June 12, 1938)
 Soviet Union 8–0 Cuba Cuba
(Moscow, Soviet Union; July 24, 1980)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1938)
Best result Quarter-finals: 1938
CONCACAF Championship
& Gold Cup
Appearances 7 (First in 1971)
Best result 4th: 1971
Caribbean Cup
Appearances 12 (First in 1991)
Best result Winners: 2012

The Cuba national football team is the national team of Cuba and is controlled by the Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba.[1] They are affiliated to the Caribbean Football Union of CONCACAF.

They were the first Caribbean team to make the World Cup, which they did in 1938. There, they defeated Romania in a replay 2–1 after drawing against them 3–3. They were then eliminated in the quarter-finals by Sweden, 8–0. Cuba has not returned to the World Cup since.

Cuba finished second in the Caribbean Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2005 and won the 2012 Caribbean Cup.

History[edit]

Cuba played its first international football match on 16 March 1930 at that year's Central American and Caribbean Games. They beat Jamaica (then a British colony) 3–1 in Havana. Four days later they beat Honduras 7–0.[2] Cuba were managed by José Tapia, who remained in charge until after Cuba's 1938 FIFA World Cup campaign. Cuba's first World Cup qualification campaign was for the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy. All of the CONCACAF entrants were placed in Group 11. The winner of a best-of-three tournament between the two weakest nations, Cuba and Haiti would produce a winner to play 1930 qualifiers Mexico in another round of best-of-three. The winner of that would play 1930 semi-finalists the United States of America for a place in the finals. All of the matches between Cuba and Haiti in the first round were staged at Parc Leconte in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 28 January, 1 February and 4 February 1934. Cuba won the first match 3–1 with Mario Lopez opening from a penalty and Hector Socorro scoring the second. The second match was a 1–1 draw with Lopez equalising in the 85th minute. In the final match Cuba won 6–0 with two Lopez goals, one from Hector Socorro and one from his brother Francisco. The second round against Mexico consisted of three matches at Parque Necaxa in Mexico City. Its first match, on 4 March 1934, saw Mexico go 3–0 up with a hat-trick by Dionisio Mejia, his goals scored in the 12th, 14th and 16th minutes. Mario Lopez scored twice for Cuba with one in each half, but Mexico won 3–2. A week later Mejia scored another hat-trick as Mexico won 5–0, and seven days later Mexico won 4–1 after Lopez opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Mexico did not qualify, their 4–2 play-off defeat to the United States was held in Rome during the finals, as the two teams had forgotten to stage it earlier

The decision to stage the 1938 World Cup in France was poorly received in the Americas, who had hoped for it to return to South America after the 1934 World Cup in Italy. All nations in South America except Brazil withdrew, and all CONCACAF nations except Cuba, thus the two qualified by default. The tournament was held as a straight knock-out tournament of 16 nations. Cuba were drawn to play their first-ever World Cup finals match against Romania (who were making their third finals appearance) at Stade Chapou in Toulouse, on 5 June 1938. Silviu Bindea put Romania ahead after 35 minutes and Hector Socorro equalised nine minutes later. With three minutes remaining Tomas Fernandez gave Cuba the lead, but within a minute Iuliu Baratky forced extra time with a Romanian equaliser. Romania went 3–2 up in extra-time by Stefan Dobay's goal on 105 minutes, but Juan Tunas equalised for Cuba with three minutes of extra-time remaining. The replay was held at the same stadium, on 9 June. This was at the same time as Switzerland's 4–2 replay win over Germany. Dobay put Romania 1–0 up at half-time with a 35th minute goal, but in the second half Cuba equalised through Socorro in the 51st minute. Six minutes later, Carlos Oliviera scored the winning goal and it ended 2–1. In the quarter-final Cuba lost 8–0 to Sweden at Stade du Fort Carre in Antibes, on 12 June. Sweden's Tore Keller and Gustav Wetterstrom each scored hat-tricks.[3]

The NAFC Championship 1949 served as CONCACAF's qualification group for the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Cuba, the United States of America and Mexico played each other twice in a tournament held in Mexico City in September 1949. The top two would qualify. Cuba came third and did not qualify, their only point was gained from their second match, a 1–1 draw against the United States on 14 September. Cuba did not compete in World Cup qualification again until 1966. They returned to participation in qualification for 1978, but the 1982 qualifiers represented a significant breakthrough- Cuba reached the final round of qualifying, and were only 2 points short of reaching the 1982 World Cup. In recent years, Cuban football has seen an improvement in results.

They reached the Quarter-finals of the 2003 Gold Cup (where they were beaten by the USA) by defeating Canada 2–0 in the Group Stage. During the 2006 World Cup qualifiers Cuba faced Costa Rica and were only eliminated on away goals. They held Costa Rica to a draw in Havana 2–2 and later battled it out for a 1–1 draw in Costa Rica. During the 2010 World Cup qualifiers Cuba faced Antigua & Barbuda and drew 3–3 against Antigua & Barbuda. Later in Pedro Marreo Cuba won 4–1 to advance to the semifinal round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. Cuba was with United States, Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala. Cuba finished in the fourth place with only a victory against Guatemala 2–1 with a goal scored by Aliannis Urgellés. They finished in third place in the Caribbean Cup 2010 to take a place in Gold Cup 2011. In 2012 Cuba won the Caribbean Cup for the first time.

For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Cuban team qualified directly to the Third Round as one of the six highest ranked teams and were place in Group C with Honduras, Panama, and Canada. Although the Cuban team had a couple of close games, they ended up their qualification process with 1 draw and 5 defeats (losing home and away to Canada and Honduras and drawing to Panama in Havana in their final game after losing in Panama City). Their only goal of the qualifying campaign came from Alberto Gomes against Panama in the final game of the group.

Competition records[edit]

World Cup record[edit]

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Uruguay 1930 Did Not Enter
Italy 1934 Did Not Qualify
France 1938 Quarter-Finals 8th 3 1 1 1 5 12
Brazil 1950 Did Not Qualify
Switzerland 1954 Entry Not Accepted[4]
Sweden 1958 Did Not Enter
Chile 1962
England 1966 Did Not Qualify
Mexico 1970 Entry Not Accepted[4]
West Germany 1974 Did Not Enter
Argentina 1978 Did Not Qualify
Spain 1982
Mexico 1986 Did Not Enter
Italy 1990 Did Not Qualify
United States 1994 Withdrew
France 1998 Did Not Qualify
South Korea Japan 2002
Germany 2006
South Africa 2010
Brazil 2014
Russia 2018 To Be Determined
Qatar 2022
Total Quarter-Final 1/20 3 1 1 1 5 12

Gold Cup record[edit]

  • 1991Withdrew
  • 1993Did not enter
  • 1996Did not qualify
  • 1998 – Round 1
  • 2000Did not qualify
  • 2002 – Round 1
  • 2003 – Quarterfinals
  • 2005 – Round 1
  • 2007 – Round 1
  • 2009Withdrew
  • 2011 – Round 1
  • 2013 – Quarterfinals

CONCACAF Championship record[edit]

  • 1963Did not enter
  • 1965Did not enter
  • 1967Did not qualify
  • 1969Did not enter
  • 1971 – 4th place
  • 1973Did not enter
  • 1977Did not qualify
  • 1981 – 5th place
  • 1985Did not enter
  • 1989Did not qualify

NAFC Championship record[edit]

  • 1947 – Runner-up
  • 1949 – Third place

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following squad was selected for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Caps and goals updated as July 20, 2013.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Odelin Molina (1974-08-03) August 3, 1974 (age 40) 122 0 Cuba FC Villa Clara
12 1GK Julio Ramos (1990-01-10) January 10, 1990 (age 24) 1 0 Cuba FC Las Tunas
21 1GK Diosvelis Alejandro (1989-08-21) August 21, 1989 (age 25) 0 0 Cuba FC Artemisa
2 2DF Michel Márquez (1987-04-07) April 7, 1987 (age 27) 0 0 Cuba FC Isla de La Juventud
4 2DF Yasmani López (1987-10-11) October 11, 1987 (age 26) 2 0 Cuba FC Ciego de Avila
5 2DF Jorge Luís Clavelo (1982-08-08) August 8, 1982 (age 32) 42 2 Cuba FC Villa Clara
6 2DF Yoel Colomé (1982-10-15) October 15, 1982 (age 31) 40 2 Cuba FC La Habana
13 2DF Jorge Luís Corrales (1991-05-20) May 20, 1991 (age 23) 20 0 Cuba FC Pinar del Rio
14 2DF Aliannis Urgellés (1985-06-25) June 25, 1985 (age 29) 44 2 Cuba FC Guantánamo
15 2DF Renay Malblanche (1991-08-08) August 8, 1991 (age 23) 14 0 Cuba FC Holguín
16 2DF Ángel Horta (1984-03-17) March 17, 1984 (age 30) 0 0 Cuba FC Camagüey
3 3MF Yénier Márquez (1979-01-03) January 3, 1979 (age 35) 113 13 Cuba FC Villa Clara
7 3MF Armando Coroneaux (1985-07-02) July 2, 1985 (age 29) 15 4 Cuba FC Camagüey
8 3MF Jaime Colomé (1979-06-30) June 30, 1979 (age 35) 78 11 Cuba FC La Habana
10 3MF Miguel Ángel Sánchez (1987-08-02) August 2, 1987 (age 27) 1 0 Cuba FC Isla de La Juventud
11 3MF Ariel Martínez (1986-05-09) May 9, 1986 (age 28) 39 9 Cuba FC Sancti Spíritus
18 3MF Liván Pérez (1990-05-08) May 8, 1990 (age 24) 4 0 Cuba FC Camagüey
19 3MF Dairon Blanco (1992-02-10) February 10, 1992 (age 22) 0 0 Cuba FC Las Tunas
20 3MF Alberto Gómez (1988-02-12) February 12, 1988 (age 26) 24 1 Cuba FC Guantánamo
23 3MF Jesús Rodríguez (1988-10-23) October 23, 1988 (age 25) 0 0 Cuba FC Ciego de Avila
9 4FW José Ciprian Alfonso (1984-03-28) March 28, 1984 (age 30) 4 2 Cuba FC Pinar del Rio
17 4FW Alexei Zuásnabar (1985-04-24) April 24, 1985 (age 29) 7 0 Cuba FC Cienfuegos
22 4FW Yaandri Puga (1988-01-03) January 3, 1988 (age 26) 3 0 Cuba FC Isla de La Juventud

Recent call-ups[edit]

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Andy Ramos (1991-02-23) 23 February 1991 (age 23) 0 0 Cuba Ciego de Ávila
2DF Dalain Aira (1989-10-26) 26 October 1989 (age 24) 4 0 Cuba La Habana
3MF Hánier Dranguet (1982-09-02) 2 September 1982 (age 32) 23 1 Cuba Guantánamo
3MF Marcel Hernández (1989-07-11) 11 July 1989 (age 25) 14 5 Cuba Ciudad Habana
3MF Osay Martinez (1991-05-19) 19 May 1991 (age 23) 3 0 Cuba Industriales
4FW Alain Cervantes (1983-11-17) 17 November 1983 (age 30) 60 8 Cuba FC Ciego de Ávila
4FW Roberto Linares (1986-02-10) 10 February 1986 (age 28) 32 13 Cuba FC Villa Clara

Previous squads[edit]

Defection and economic migration by Cuban athletes[edit]

As well as Cuban athletes in other sports, a number of football players (such as Maykel Galindo and Osvaldo Alonso) have made the move to the United States in recent years. During the 2002 Gold Cup in Los Angeles, two Cuban players Rey Ángel Martinez and Alberto Delgado chose to remain in the United States. Striker Maykel Galindo did so during the 2005 Gold Cup. Two more, Osvaldo Alonso and Lester More did so during the 2007 Gold Cup.

In 2008, defections occurred during two separate tournaments held in the United States. In March, seven players from the U-23 national football, including Yeniel Bermúdez, Yordany Álvarez and Yendry Díaz defected during the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament while the team was based in Tampa, FL. In October, two days before the country's World Cup Qualifier versus the USA, Reynier Alcántara and Pedro Faife walked away from the team's hotel near Washington, D.C.. During the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Yosniel Mesa defected while the team was in Charlotte, North Carolina.[5]

Recent results and forthcoming fixtures[edit]

Date Venue Opponent Result Competition
9/7/2013 United States Portland, United States  Costa Rica 0–3 2013 Gold Cup
13/7/2013 United States Sandy, United States  United States 1–4 2013 Gold Cup
16/7/2013 United States East Hartford, United States  Belize 4–0 2013 Gold Cup
20/7/2013 United States Atlanta, United States  Panama 1-6 2013 Gold Cup
29/3/2014 Spain Alzira, Spain  Indonesia 1–0 Friendly

Coaches[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rainsford, Sarah (2012-06-28). "BBC News – Euro 2012 football fever hits baseball-loving Cuba". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Cuba – List of International Matches". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  3. ^ "Baseball in Their Veins, but a New Ball at Their Feet". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  4. ^ a b "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Cuba's Yosniel Mesa defects". ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 

External links[edit]