Nickname: Los Cafeteros (The Coffee Growers)
FIFA World Rank: 4
Coach: José Pekerman. . . tee hee, Peker.
Roster: GOALKEEPERS (3): Cristian Bonilla (Atlético Nacional, COL), David Ospina (Arsenal, ENG), Róbinson Zapata (Santa Fe, COL)
DEFENDERS (8): Felipe Aguilar (Atlético Nacional, COL), Santiago Arias (PSV, NED), Farid Díaz (Atlético Nacional, COL), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors, ARG), Stefan Medina (Pachuca, MEX), Jeison Murillo (Inter Milan, ITA), Yerry Mina (Santa Fe, COL), Cristián Zapata (AC Milan, ITA)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Edwin Cardona (Monterrey, MEX), Guillermo Celis (Junior, COL), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus, ITA), Sebastián Pérez (Atlético Nacional, COL), Andrés Felipe Roa (Deportivo Cali, COL), James Rodríguez (Real Madrid, ESP), Carlos Sánchez (Aston Villa, ENG), Daniel Torres (Independiente Medellín, COL)
FORWARDS (4): Carlos Bacca (AC Milan, ITA), Roger Martínez (Racing Club, ARG), Marlos Moreno (Atlético Nacional, COL), Dayro Moreno (Club Tijuana, MEX)
Match 1 (June 3rd): VS USA. . . 6:30 PM PST
Match 2 (June 7th): VS Paraguay. . . 7:30 PM PST
Match 3 (June 11th) VS Costa Rica. . . 6:00 PM PST
Odds of winning: 10:1 (Five teams have better odds of winning)
The Most you should wager on Colombia winning the Copa America: $20.
Colombia is known for 3 things:
Projected Copa America Centenario Performance:
What a difference two years can make. In 2014, the Colombians were the media darlings at the World Cup in Brazil. Many reporters were penciling them in as the 2018 World Cup champions. James became a megastar overnight, signed with Real Madrid and had a great season with them. Then the 2015 Copa America happened.
Colombia shit the bed at the 2015 Copa America tournament and followed that up with mediocrity to begin the World Cup Qualifiers. While they seem to have turned their fortune around– as they have won their last two World Cup qualifier matches after they tweaked their roster– this Copa America Centurio is really important for Colombia to win because they need to build momentum for the rest of the World Cup qualifying matches.
Colombia is not only in this year’s group of Death—Group A consists of Colombia, America, Costa Rica and Paraguay—but with the exception of Brazil, every country is essentially fielding their best team. This tournament will be used as a measuring stick for Colombia to see where they stand with many of the top soccer nations as they continue to rebuild their team on the fly.
I would also imagine Colombia would like to exorcise the demons by having a solid tournament in the US for once. People remember what happened to Andres Escobar in 1994, but, did you know Colombia lost 2-0 to CANADA in the Gold Cup final in Los Angeles? That caused Colombian soccer to go into a depression that they recently just got out of in 2011. Sure, they won the Gold Cup the following year, but, to give you an idea of how shady it was, Colombia were the hosts and originally cancelled the tournament only to change their mind at the last minute. Canada couldn’t make the trip because it was too last minute, the Argentinians decided to pull out because Colombian terrorists were threatening the team and Honduras was flown out and arrived in Colombia mere hours before their first game. Nobody but Colombia gave a shit about that tournament.
Key Players for Colombia:
Their goalkeeper, David Ospina, will have to be solid if the Colombians are to survive their group. He`s a good goalie, but he didn’t get a lot of playing time this year, which could be an issue given his age.
This will be the first tournament where forward Carlos Bacca won’t have guys like Jackson, Teo, Falcao, Ramos and Muriel vying for a spot. While the pressure is off of him in that regard, he will have to play smart so he doesn’t burn out by the end of the group stage.
Ultimately, the success of Colombia comes down to whether their best player, James, can recover from having a miserable season with Real Madrid, in which he barely played. He played 46% of available pitch time under Madrid’s current manger, Zidane (that’s bad). This had a lot to do with the fact that the Christmas ham couldn’t do a pullup.
Weight issues aside, this season saw him have trouble with the law, fans routinely booed him to the point he made passive aggressive comments about Madrid fans to the Colombian media and he keeps getting caught partying like it’s 1999 in Madrid clubs. Then there are the speculative rumours out there regarding James enjoying the women at these clubs, while his lovely wife stays at home and presumably works out.
By the way, her brother is David Ospina, the team’s starting goalie, which could make for an interesting conversation when they first meet up in the States.
With all that said, James is still a very good player and more importantly, is playing for his next job and an enormous contract. This is his tournament to demonstrate his abilities so a team like Bayern Munich, Man U, Chelski or PSG will offer him a dump truck full of gold.
Despite being weak on defense and bringing in new guys, this is still a very good team that should consider not making at least the semi-finals a total disaster and utter failure.