Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Colombia national football team

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FIFA code  COL
Manager  José Pékerman
Head coach  José Pékerman
Captain  James Rodríguez
Founded  1924
Competition  Copa América
Colombia national football team httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb6
Nickname(s)  Los Cafeteros (The Coffee growers) La Tricolor (The Tricolors)
Confederation  CONMEBOL (South America)
Most caps  Carlos Valderrama (111)
Top scorer  Radamel Falcao & Arnoldo Iguarán (25)
Home stadium  Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez
Arena/Stadium  Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez
Association  Colombian Football Federation

The Colombia national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Colombia) represents Colombia in international football competitions and is overseen by the Colombian Football Federation. It is a member of the CONMEBOL and is currently ranked seventh in the FIFA World Rankings. The team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country.


Since the mid-1980s, the national team has been a symbol fighting the country's negative reputation. This has made the sport popular and made the national team a sign of nationalism, pride and passion for many Colombians worldwide. Colombia is known for having a passionate fan base.

Colombia had its strongest period during the 1990s. A 1993 match resulted in a 5–0 win over Argentina which began a special "mutual respect" rivalry between both nations. The goalkeeper René Higuita achieved fame from his eccentric scorpion kick clearance against England at Wembley Stadium in 1995. Stars from Colombia's team included Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla. During this era Colombia qualified for the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups, only reaching the second round in 1990. Following the death of Andrés Escobar after the 1994 World Cup, Colombia's team faded in the latter half of the 1990s. They were the champions of the 2001 Copa América, which they hosted and set a new Copa América record of 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 four result in seven Copa Américas. 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 in 2012.

Colombia missed three World Cups between 2002 and 2010. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Colombia showed improvement over the 2011 Copa América, bringing its rank up to the top ten for the first time since 2002 and into the top five consistently for the first time since 2004. After a 16-year-long wait, in 2014 Colombia finally returned to the World Cup, where they were able to advance to the quarterfinals, the furthest Colombia has ever made it in a World Cup. Colombia's midfielder James Rodríguez won two awards, the Golden Boot for most goals (6) and Best Goal of the Tournament.

The 1962 FIFA World Cup match against the USSR finished in a 4–4 tie after Colombia had been down 4–1, making it one of the biggest comebacks in World Cup history. In that game, Colombia had also scored a direct corner kick goal, also making it the only direct corner kick goal in World Cup history.

Fifa world cup 2014 colombia national football team group c

Early years

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 withdrawal 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.

At the 1962 World Cup, Colombia lost their first match 2–1 against Uruguay. Luis Cubilla and Jorge Sasía scored for Uruguay at the 56th and 75th minute respectively, while Francisco Zuluaga scored a 19th-minute penalty goal for Colombia. In the second match they got a 4–4 draw with the Soviet Union, champions of the 1960 European Nations' Cup. It should be noted that in this game, Colombia scored four goals against Soviet goalkeeper 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 so far. Unfortunately, the Colombian campaign in 1962 ended with a 5–0 defeat against Yugoslavia, who end up in fourth place in the tournament.

1990s Golden Era

At 1990 World Cup, Colombia defeated United Arab Emirates 2–0, lost to Yugoslavia 1–0, and earned their place in the Round of 16 after a 1–1 draw with West Germany, who would later win the Cup. Colombia would be eliminated in their next match against Cameroon with a 2–1 defeat in extra time.

For the 1994 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. Colombia was assigned to the Group A with the hosts United States, Romania, and Switzerland. During the tournament, Colombia only earned one win and suffered two losses, which would eliminate it in the first phase.

Colombia ended their qualification for the 1998 World Cup in third place with 28 points, 2 points below Argentina who was in 1st place with 30 points. Colombia was assigned to the Group G with Tunisia, England, and Romania. Romania obtains a 1–0 victory in the first match. Colombia's second match was a 1–0 win against Tunisia, with a goal from Leider Preciado. However, in the last match England won the game 2–0, with which Colombia was eliminated.

2001 Copa America

The 2001 Copa América was the first Copa América held in Colombia. Prior to the tournament, meetings were held by CONMEBOL authorities who were concerned about potential security issues in Colombia, and the tournament was cancelled on July 1, just 10 days before the first game. On July 6, CONMEBOL decided to reinstate the tournament, which was held on schedule. Canada had already disbanded its training camp and released its players, so Costa Rica (CONCACAF invitee) were invited to the tournament. Claiming that Argentine players had received death threats from terrorist groups, the Argentine Football Association decided to withdraw from the competition the day before the first game, with Honduras (CONCACAF invitee) hastily invited and flown in by the Colombian Air Force to participate. There were no terrorist incidents within the competition. Colombia had a strong run through the tournament, winning their first Copa América title by beating Mexico (CONCACAF invitee) with a goal from Iván Córdoba in the second half.

Depression Era (2002–2010)

For the 2002 World Cup, Colombia only managed to place sixth in the qualification round, tied with Uruguay but failing to qualify due to goal difference. Colombia would also eventually fail to qualify for the 2006 edition in Germany and for the 2010 World Cup, mainly because their constant change of formations and struggles to score goals in the last games of the qualification.

A new golden generation (2010–present)

In 2011 Copa América, Colombia made a good run topping their group and achieving a draw to the host nation Argentina, who were the favorites. In the next round, Colombia would be eliminated in a 2–0 lost against Peru in the extra time.

The Colombian side gained Leonel Álvarez as the new coach following the resignation of Hernán Darío Gómez, but was sacked after three games with disappointing results, which led in the hiring of José Pékerman. The Colombian squad would break a personal qualifying best record, and raise the FIFA ranking consistently into the top ten and allowed them to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 16 years. Celebrations broke throughout the nation, as many neturals hailed Colombia as a dark-horse towards being a World Cup contender. Often, Colombia were noted by many figures in Colombia such as Carlos Valderrama as a team that could become the most successful Colombian squad in history.

2014 World Cup

Colombia topped off their return in the 2014 World Cup after a 16-year absence by defeating Greece 3–0. Colombia then edged a 2–1 victory over Ivory Coast to dispute Group C's top spot days later. On the same day, Japan and Greece drew 0–0 and automatically qualified Colombia to the round of 16 for the first time in 24 years since the 1990 World Cup. In its final group stage game, Colombia defeated Japan 4–1 to win Group C and become the third South American team (following Brazil and Argentina) to go 3–0 in group stage in World Cup history. The Japan match also saw goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón, the last active player from the country's previous World Cup appearance in 1998, become the oldest player ever to appear in a World Cup final tournament. Colombia went on to defeat Uruguay 2–0 on 28 June 2014 in the knockout round, securing a spot in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Colombia fell to the host country Brazil 2–1 in the quarter-final round in controversy, where media and figures such as Diego Maradona criticized FIFA and Carlos Velasco Carballo for "favoring" Brazil and being biased in disallowing a goal from Mario Yepes and allowing too many fouls by the Brazilians to occur without any yellow cards being shown.

Despite the elimination, the national team was greeted by tens of thousands of Colombians in Bogotá, welcoming them back as heroes and restoring pride to the nation. Colombia would then receive the FIFA Fair Play Trophy and have James Rodríguez and Juan Cuadrado end as the World Cup's leading goal scorer and assist leader, respectively.

2015 Copa América

Colombia had a disappointing 2015 Copa América, having won only a single game during the group stage match against Brazil, with their only goal of the tournament. Colombia would then be eliminated by Argentina in the very next round by penalty shootout, ending their campaign with 1 win, 2 draws and 1 loss. As well with their only goal scored by Jeison Murillo, would later win the tournament's best young player award and added into the tournament's Star XI.

Copa América Centenario

Colombia began their campaign with a 0–2 victory against hosts United States. Days later they sealed their qualification to the quarter finals with a 2–1 victory against Paraguay. They however, fell to Costa Rica 2–3 and finished second in the group following a complete change with 11 of their starters. On June 17, they advanced to the semi-finals with a win against Peru on penalties 4–2 in front of 79,000 fans at Metlife Stadium. Colombia would then lose to eventual tournament winners Chile following mistakes by their defense and ending the game 2-0. However, Colombia won the 3rd place match against the host USA to seal their best result since winning the 2001 edition.


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 are not as popular as the rival matches against Argentina and Brazil.

The historical Colombian 5–0 victory in 1993, beating host Argentina in the 1994 FIFA 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. Argentina come as a previous twice FIFA World Cup champion. It caused a huge upset and start of a respective rivalries. Unlike other rivalries full of hostility, the Colombian-Argentine rivalry is more based on 'respect' than a 'hated' relationship always attracting great interest between both nations. Thus, the Colombian-Argentine rivalry has been considered "unique" and "special." In a way, the Colombian-Argentine relationship is viewed as "sparring partners" in world football.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, Brazil was playing Colombia. The match ended 2–1 winning Brazil, with a wrongly disallowed goal from Colombian captain Mario Yepes that could have made the tie for Colombia. Since then, matches between the two countries have been played with great intensity and hostility.

Schedule and results

  Win   Draw   Loss

Current squad

The following 20 players were called up for the friendly match against Brazil on January 25, 2017.

Caps and goals updated as January 25, 2017 after the match against Brazil.

Recent call-ups

The following players have been recently called up in the last 12 months.

Individual records

  • Bold denotes players still playing international football.
  • As of 25 January 2017


    Colombia national football team Wikipedia