Cuba national football team

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Cuba
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Leones del Caribe (Lions of the Caribbean)
AssociationFootball Association of Cuba
ConfederationCONCACAF
(North America)
Sub-confederationCFU (Caribbean)
Head coachPablo Elier Sánchez
Most capsYénier Márquez (126)
Top scorerLester Moré (30)
Home stadiumEstadio Pedro Marrero
FIFA codeCUB
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 179 Steady (22 October 2020)[1]
Highest46 (November – December 2006)
Lowest182 (August 2017, March–May 2018)
Elo ranking
Current 142 Increase 3 (22 October 2020)[2]
Highest52 (February 2005)
Lowest147 (September 2019)
First international
 Cuba 3–1 Jamaica 
(Havana, Cuba; 16 March 1930)
Biggest win
 Cuba 11–0 Turks and Caicos Islands 
(Havana, Cuba; 8 September 2018)
Biggest defeat
 Sweden 8–0 Cuba 
(Antibes, France; 12 June 1938)
 Soviet Union 8–0 Cuba 
(Moscow, Soviet Union; 24 July 1980)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1938)
Best resultQuarter-finals, 1938
CONCACAF Championship
& Gold Cup
Appearances11 (first in 1971)
Best resultFourth place, 1971

The Cuba national football team (Spanish: Selección nacional de fútbol de Cuba) represents Cuba in men's international association football and it is controlled by the Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba, The team's nickname is Leones del Caribe (Lions of Caribbean), The team represents all three FIFA, Caribbean Football Union and Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

They were the first Caribbean team to get to the World Cup Quarter finals – they did so 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]

Early 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.[3] Cuba were managed by José Tapia, who remained in charge until after Cuba's 1938 World Cup campaign. Cuba's first World Cup qualification campaign was for the 1934 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, 1 and 4 January–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.

1938–2000[edit]

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 du T.O.E.C. 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, Tomás Fernández 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 Tuñas 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 Wetterström each scored hat-tricks.[4]

The NAFC Championship 1949 served as CONCACAF's qualification group for the 1950 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 two points short of reaching the 1982 World Cup. In recent years, Cuban football has seen an improvement in results.

2000–present[edit]

They reached the quarter-finals of the 2003 Gold Cup (where they were beaten by the United States) 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 and Barbuda and the match ended in a 3–3 draw. Later in Pedro Marreo, Cuba won 4–1 to advance to the semi-final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. Cuba was with the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala. Cuba finished in the fourth place with only one victory against Guatemala 2–1 with a goal scored by Aliannis Urgellés. They finished in third place in the 2010 Caribbean Cup to take a place in the 2011 Gold Cup. In 2012, Cuba won the Caribbean Cup for the first time.

For the 2014 World Cup, the Cuban team qualified directly to the Third round as one of the six highest ranked teams and were placed in Group C with Honduras, Panama, and Canada. Although the Cuban team had several close games, they ended their qualification process with one draw and five 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 stage.

Competitive record[edit]

World Cup record[edit]

Cuba's FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Did not enter Did not enter
Italy 1934 Did not qualify 2nd 6 2 1 3 13 14
France 1938 Quarter-finals 7th 3 1 1 1 5 12 Squad Bye
Brazil 1950 Did not qualify 3rd 4 0 1 3 3 11
Switzerland 1954 Not accepted[5] Not accepted
Sweden 1958 Did not enter Did not enter
Chile 1962
England 1966 Did not qualify 3rd 4 1 1 2 3 5
Mexico 1970 Not accepted[5] Not accepted
West Germany 1974 Did not enter Did not enter
Argentina 1978 Did not qualify Playoff 5 2 2 1 7 5
Spain 1982 5th 9 4 3 2 11 8
Mexico 1986 Did not enter Did not enter
Italy 1990 Did not qualify 2nd 2 0 1 2 1 2
United States 1994 Withdrew Withdrew
France 1998 Did not qualify 4th 10 4 1 5 17 18
South Korea Japan 2002 Playoff 8 2 5 1 7 3
Germany 2006 Playoff 4 2 2 0 8 4
South Africa 2010 4th 8 3 0 5 13 21
Brazil 2014 4th 6 0 1 5 1 10
Russia 2018 Playoff 2 0 2 0 1 1
Qatar 2022 To be determined To be determined
Canada Mexico United States 2026
Total Quarter-finals 1/21 3 1 1 1 5 12 68 20 20 29 85 102

CONCACAF Championship/Gold Cup record[edit]

CONCACAF Championship
Year Result Position Pld W T L GF GA
El Salvador 1963 Did not enter
Guatemala 1965 Withdrew
Honduras 1967 Did not qualify
Costa Rica 1969 Did not enter
Trinidad and Tobago 1971 Fourth place 4th 5 1 2 2 5 7
Haiti 1973 Did not enter
Mexico 1977 Did not qualify
Honduras 1981 Final Round 5th 5 1 2 2 4 8
1985 Did not enter
1989 Did not qualify
CONCACAF Gold Cup
United States 1991 Withdrew
Mexico United States 1993 Did not enter
United States 1996 Did not qualify
United States 1998 Group stage 10th 2 0 0 2 2 10
United States 2000 Did not qualify
United States 2002 Group stage 11th 2 0 1 1 0 1
Mexico United States 2003 Quarter-finals 8th 3 1 0 2 2 8
United States 2005 Group stage 12th 3 0 0 3 3 9
United States 2007 Group stage 12th 3 0 1 2 3 9
United States 2009 Withdrew
United States 2011 Group stage 12th 3 0 0 3 1 16
United States 2013 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 0 3 6 13
Canada United States 2015 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 0 3 1 14
United States 2017 Did not qualify
United States Costa Rica Jamaica 2019 Group stage 16th 3 0 0 3 0 17
2021 In progress
Total 11/25 13/27 37 5 6 24 27 112

CONCACAF Nations League[edit]

CONCACAF Nations League record
Year Division Group Pld W D L GF GA P/R Rank
United States 2019−20 A A 4 0 0 4 0 18 Fall 12th
2022–23 B A 0 0 0 0 0 0 TBD
Total 4 0 0 4 0 18

NAFC Championship record[edit]

  • 1947 – Runners-up
  • 1949 – Third place

Caribbean Cup record[edit]

CFU Caribbean Cup
Year Round Pld W D L GF GA
Barbados 1989 Did not enter
Trinidad and Tobago 1990
Jamaica 1991 Withdrew
Trinidad and Tobago 1992 Fourth Place 5 2 2 1 4 2
Jamaica 1993 Did not enter
Trinidad and Tobago 1994 Withdrew
Cayman IslandsJamaica 1995 Third Place 5 3 0 2 9 6
Trinidad and Tobago 1996 Second Place 5 3 1 1 7 2
Antigua and BarbudaSaint Kitts and Nevis1997 Did not enter
Trinidad and Tobago Jamaica 1998 Did not qualify
Trinidad and Tobago 1999 Second Place 5 4 0 1 9 3
Trinidad and Tobago 2001 Fourth Place 5 1 2 2 5 7
Barbados 2005 Second Place 3 2 0 1 5 2
Trinidad and Tobago 2007 Third Place 5 2 1 2 7 6
Jamaica 2008 Fourth Place 5 2 2 1 7 4
Martinique 2010 Third Place 5 4 0 1 5 2
Antigua and Barbuda 2012 Champions 5 2 0 1 5 2
Jamaica 2014 Fourth Place 4 1 2 1 5 5
Martinique 2017 Did not qualify
Total 1 Championship 47 26 10 14 68 41

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following 23 players were called up for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.[6]
Caps and goals as of 24 March 2019 after the game against Haiti.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Sandy Sánchez (1994-05-24) 24 May 1994 (age 26) 13 1 Dominican Republic Delfines del Este
12 1GK Elier Pozo (1995-01-28) 28 January 1995 (age 25) 2 0 Cuba Pinar del Río
21 1GK Nelson Johnston (1990-02-25) 25 February 1990 (age 30) 4 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba

17 2DF Karel Espino (2001-10-27) 27 October 2001 (age 18) 1 0 Cuba Artemisa
4 2DF Yasmany López (1987-10-11) 11 October 1987 (age 33) 29 1 Cuba Ciego de Ávila
15 2DF Leonis Martínez (1989-02-03) 3 February 1989 (age 31) 9 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba
5 2DF Daniel Morejón (1998-12-21) 21 December 1998 (age 21) 6 0 Cuba Ciego de Ávila
6 2DF Yosel Piedra (1994-03-27) 27 March 1994 (age 26) 17 0 Guatemala USAC
3 2DF Erick Rizo (1991-02-28) 28 February 1991 (age 29) 11 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba

7 3MF Rolando Abreu (1992-05-15) 15 May 1992 (age 28) 7 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba
13 3MF Aníbal Álvarez (1995-05-25) 25 May 1995 (age 25) 1 1 Cuba Ciego de Ávila
2 3MF Andy Baquero (1994-08-17) 17 August 1994 (age 26) 23 3 Dominican Republic Delfines del Este
22 3MF Roberney Caballero (1995-11-02) 2 November 1995 (age 24) 10 3 Cuba Camagüey
10 3MF Aricheel Hernández (1993-09-20) 20 September 1993 (age 27) 15 2 Panama Independiente
19 3MF Jorge Kindelán (1986-04-12) 12 April 1986 (age 34) 7 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba
20 3MF Luismel Morris (1997-12-14) 14 December 1997 (age 22) 9 3 Cuba Camagüey
18 3MF Reinaldo Pérez (1994-01-22) 22 January 1994 (age 26) 11 0 Dominican Republic Delfines del Este
8 3MF Alejandro Portal (1995-10-21) 21 October 1995 (age 25) 2 0 Cuba Pinar del Río
14 3MF Jean Carlos Rodríguez (1999-05-27) 27 May 1999 (age 21) 0 0 Cuba Pinar del Río
16 3MF Daniel Luis Sáez (1994-05-11) 11 May 1994 (age 26) 19 1 Dominican Republic Delfines del Este
11 3MF Yordan Santa Cruz (1993-10-07) 7 October 1993 (age 27) 14 6 Dominican Republic Jarabacoa FC

23 4FW Luis Paradela (1997-01-21) 21 January 1997 (age 23) 6 5 United States Reno 1868
9 4FW Maikel Reyes (1993-03-04) 4 March 1993 (age 27) 14 2 Cuba Pinar del Río

Recent call-ups[edit]

Caps and goals as of 24 March 2019 after the game against Haiti.[7]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Diosvelis Guerra (1989-05-21) 21 May 1989 (age 31) 17 0 Cuba Camagüey

2DF José Almelo (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 (age 24) 1 0 Cuba Pinar del Río
2DF Yonaidis García (1997-07-03) 3 July 1997 (age 23) 0 0 Cuba Camagüey
2DF Marlon Sánchez (1999-07-07) 7 July 1999 (age 21) 0 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba

3MF Neisser Sandó (1998-10-26) 26 October 1998 (age 21) 6 0 Cuba Santiago de Cuba

4FW Eddy Olivares (1991-03-26) 26 March 1991 (age 29) 7 1 Cuba Santiago de Cuba
4FW Juan Manuel Andreus (1999-11-08) 8 November 1999 (age 20) 2 1 Cuba Las Tunas
4FW Allan Pérez (1996-07-19) 19 July 1996 (age 24) 5 0 Cuba Ciego de Ávila

Previous squads[edit]

Defection and economic migration by Cuban athletes[edit]

As well as Cuban athletes in other sports, a number of football players have made the move to the United States in recent years. During the 2002 Gold Cup in Los Angeles, two Cuban players Rey Ángel Martínez 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 US, 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.[8] During the 2015 Gold Cup, forward Keiler García defected to the United States before the team's first match against Mexico in Chicago.[9]

Recent results and forthcoming fixtures[edit]

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

Date Venue Opponent Result Competition
7 November 2019 Nicaragua Nicaragua National Football Stadium, Managua  Nicaragua 0–0 Friendly
10 November 2019 Nicaragua Nicaragua National Football Stadium, Managua  Nicaragua 1–0 Friendly
19 November 2019 Cayman Islands Truman Bodden Sports Complex, George Town  United States 0–4 Nations League A

Coaches[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Cuba – List of International Matches". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Baseball in Their Veins, but a New Ball at Their Feet". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Final 23-Player Rosters Announced for 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup". COCACAF Gold Cup. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Cuatro villaclareños en preselección cubana de fútbol". Telecubanacán. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Cuba's Yosniel Mesa defects". ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Keilen García, el premio-castigo de la libertad". ESPN Deportes. Retrieved 9 July 2015.

External links[edit]