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Colombian National Team Reinvents Itself for the 2024 Copa América

seleção da colômbia copa américa 2024 Colombian National Team La Nazionale Colombiana

The Colombian National Team is reinventing itself for the 2024 Copa América.

But how is this possible with almost the same squad as previous years? Discover how the more experienced players, after years of underperformance in the national team, have managed to reinvent themselves and deliver impressive recent performances.

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The Recent Years of the Colombian National Team

Much has been said about Colombia’s golden generation of the 90s, a team featuring players like Valderrama, Asprilla, and Fred Rincón, among many other stars.

Expectations were high for the 1994 World Cup in the United States. However, Colombia failed to progress past the group stage, resulting in one of the most horrific incidents in football history—the assassination of defender Andrés Escobar, who scored an own goal in the loss against the USA.

This generation managed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup but again did not make it past the group stage.

However, in 2001, playing at home, Colombia won their only Copa América title, led by top scorer Aristizábal.

From then until 2014, the Colombians experienced a drought of strong teams, failing to qualify for any World Cups and performing poorly in Copa América tournaments.

All this changed in 2014. Rising stars like James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, and Ospina joined forces with Radamel Falcao and other talents.

Under the guidance of Argentine coach José Pekerman, Los Cafeteros had their best team in terms of performance.

They showcased their capabilities in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, finishing second behind Argentina (Brazil did not participate as they were the host nation).

In the tournament, they dazzled. In a tough group with Ivory Coast, Japan, and Greece, the South Americans won all three matches, ending the group stage with a 100% record.

In the Round of 16, they faced fellow South Americans, Uruguay. James Rodriguez, the tournament sensation, scored two stunning goals, one of which won the Puskas Award that year.

Gol de James Rodríguez é eleito o melhor da Copa do Mundo – Brasil 2014 – CONMEBOL

Image: Conmebol

In the quarter-finals, they faced Brazil on home soil. The Colombians suffered their first defeat of the World Cup and were eliminated, but not without giving Brazil a tough match.

In the 2016 Copa América Centenario, they finished third, once again with excellent performances.

In the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they had another good group stage but were eliminated in the Round of 16 by England on penalties.

After the World Cup, some of the key players reached an advanced age, like Falcao.

Their performance plummeted. Pekerman stepped down at the end of the World Cup.

Carlos Queiroz and Reinaldo Rueda took over, but neither could match the Argentine’s work.

They missed out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with performances far below expectations.

However, in 2022, another Argentine took over as coach. Nestor Lorenzo has shown the ability to utilise some holdovers from previous generations while also incorporating new players who have excelled.

Currently, Colombia occupies third place in the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and started this Copa América with a 2-1 victory over Paraguay.

Notable names like James Rodriguez, Yerry Mina, Ospina, Borré, and Borja remain in the squad.

James, despite not playing for São Paulo this year, continues to deliver outstanding performances for his country.

The new standout is, of course, the team’s best player, Luis Diaz. Having started his journey with the Colombian National Team in 2018, the Liverpool winger is exceptional.

Another emerging star is Richard Rios. The Palmeiras midfielder dominates the Colombian midfield.

Falcao comemora vaga e diz que Colômbia teve paciência para encontrar o gol | colômbia | ge

Image: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Colombia vs Paraguay

The Colombians took an important step towards qualifying for the quarter-finals of the 2024 Copa América.

They defeated Paraguay 2-1, delivering a strong performance.

Paraguay, not in their best form despite having young players with great potential and international recognition, like Enciso, struggled.

Los Cafeteros started the match assertively, pushing their lines forward and attempting to pressure Paraguay, who tried to counter-attack with Enciso and Almirón, without success.

However, as the initial momentum waned, Paraguay managed to equalise the play.

Just when the game seemed balanced, James Rodriguez’s talent shone through.

The São Paulo midfielder made a brilliant play and delivered a perfect cross to Muñoz, who headed home at the far post to open the scoring at 32 minutes.

They didn’t slow down. Just 10 minutes later, Richard Rios won a foul after almost nutmegging Almirón. Once again, James Rodriguez delivered a pinpoint free-kick to Lerma, who headed it into the net.

In the second half, Paraguay pushed forward to reduce the deficit, which they managed in the 68th minute. Sosa crossed, and Enciso finished first-time to narrow the score.

But that was it. Colombia now leads the group after Brazil and Costa Rica drew.

Their next match is against Costa Rica on Friday, June 29th, in Phoenix.

Colômbia vence o Paraguai por 2 a 1 no jogo de abertura do grupo do Brasil na Copa América | O Tempo

Image: X

Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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Tags: Cups

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