Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Brazil Diary: 'United' Colombia celebrates in Maracana
June 28th, 2014 10:04PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

TAGS:  african nations cup, alianza de futbol, americans abroad, argentina


By Mike Woitalla

Colombian and Uruguayan fans arrived at Maracana in decidedly different moods.

The Uruguayans pessimistic about their chances without suspended Luis Suarez. Most agreed a suspension for the bite was deserved, but that it was too severe and FIFA was intent in punishing a “little country.”

The Colombians, many of whom had flown in after Colombia clinched its second-round passage, buoyant and optimistic about Los Cafeteros, who won all three of their group games in entertaining and convincing fashion. Rafael Rincon and Abraham Romano bought scalped tickets for $800 a pop.

“The team has united the Colombia,” says 28-year-old Rincon. “We were divided because of the presidential election.”

On June 15, a day after Colombia started its World Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over Greece, incumbent Juan Manuel Santos narrowly defeated Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.

“It was an ugly, long campaign,” says Colombian Luis Badel of Yahoo! Latin America. “When it was done, everybody could relax and enjoy the World Cup. It’s true. This team has brought us together.”

On Saturday at Maracana, Colombia had a chance to reach the quarterfinals for the first time ever. This after a 16-year absence from the World Cup. Not all the fans who flew in at the last minute got inside the stadium.

“One thousand dollars is too much, but we’re happy to be here,” says Carlos Victoria, a 58-year-old naval engineer, who with friends flew from Cali with layovers in Bogota, Lima and Porto Alegre to watch the game in a Rio bar. “It’s wonderful to be here.”

Colombian fans vastly outnumbered Uruguayan fans inside the stadium and taunted them with chants of “Eliminado!” after Los Cafeteros took the 2-0 lead that would stand, both goals coming from the brilliant 22-year-old James Rodriguez, who with five goals and two assists is the leading candidate for the Golden Ball.

This Colombian squad is already seen by fans and Colombian media as better than the 1990s' Carlos Valderrama-led teams that included such spectacular attackers such as Faustino Asprilla, Freddy Rincon and Adolfo Valencia. That era’s team famously beat Argentina, 5-0, in Buenos Aires in qualifying to take favorite status at the 1994 World Cup the USA. But they fell in the first round, and Andres Escobar, who scored an own goal in the 2-1 loss to the USA, was murdered when he returned to Medellin.

“It was very, very sad,” says Romano.

“This is cathartic,” says Rincon, who remembers watching the 1994 World Cup as an 8-year-old and Colombia’s first-round exit in France '98, Los Cafeteros' last World Cup appearance.

Now about that presidential election -- did it come out well?

“Yes!” says Rincon. “No!” says Romano. And they proceed to argue about the virtues of President Santos. But no doubt they’ll soon be united again as Colombia heads into its quarterfinal with Brazil.

1 comment
  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: June 30, 2014 at 8:57 a.m.
    I think Columbia will beat Brazil.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Confidential
MLS Awards: Giovinco leads list of MVP candidates    
Voting closed Monday for the MLS individual awards and without knowing who the three finalists will ...
Whitecaps own up to their shortcomings in 2016    
The plight of defending champion Portland has been a running saga all season yet its foe ...
Drogba and Saputo show the power of 'big personalities'    
Players on big salaries often bring along big egos as well. Montreal owner Joey Saputo has ...
What was the value of the USA's bumpy win in Cuba?    
The USA's 2-0 win in a friendly over Cuba on Friday marked its first return to ...
Paul Arriola takes advantage of opportunities for USA    
On and off the field, fast starts are normal for Paul Arriola. He scored a goal ...
Options could lead to makeover of U.S. midfield    
Strong performances by several players in friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand could create a logjam ...
Bob Bradley steps into a tough new world    
Last season, 11 of 20 Premier League clubs changed managers, including major stars such as Louis ...
New NASL owner expects to see difference in how league operates    
The interlocking and overlapping elements of North American pro soccer are among the issues facing owners ...
So far, Jordan Morris' decisions have been the right ones    
U.S. forward Jordan Morris turned down a move to German club Werder Bremen, which is rooted ...
MLS Playoff Watch: Breaking down the Eastern Conference's battle of bubble teams    
With a month of the regular season to be played, no Eastern Conference team has clinched ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives