Colombia will enter the 2016 Copa América Centenario with a chip on their shoulder.
Rough Years For Columbia In Internationals Tournaments
Los Cafeteros is a team that has always been full of exciting attacking players over the years. However, somehow in tournaments they have been constantly disappointed. Even as favorites to win the championship, they would unfortunately be defeated.
In the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cup, Columbia was predicted to be the winners or at least get to the semifinals. Yet, the Colombians only made it out of the group stages in 1990, and they were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Cameroon.
Los Cafeteros failed to qualify to another World Cup till 2014. With no pressure in Brazil, they managed to surprise the world and finished as a quarterfinalist. They were eliminated by the host nation. It only took the South Americans their fifth try to break into the quarterfinals.
Colombia has not only struggled in the World Cup, but also in the Copa América as well.
This tournament is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the first ever Copa América that was played in 1916, which Uruguay won. Since then, Los Cafeteros have only won one of the versions coming in 2001. The tournament was held in Colombia and they defeated CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico in the final by a narrow score of 1-0.
Los Cafeteros have not been to the final of Copa América since then. In fact, their best finish was in the 2004 version held in Peru, where they ended in the tournament in fourth place. The next three tournaments Colombia has continued to disappoint their fans. In the 2007 tournament, they failed to escape out of the first round. Then in the next two (2011 and 2015), they failed to get out of the quarterfinals - when they were favorites to win the competition both times once again.
How They Will Advance In The Championship And Who Los Cafeteros Will Be Facing
For the Colombians, this tournament represents an opportunity to win their second title in history. Los Cafeteros are led by playmakers James Rodríguez, Juan Cuadrado, Juan Quintero and Fredy Guarín. However, if the Colombians want to advance to the next round and potentially win the tournament. they need their forwards to step up.
A Carlos Bacca, Teófilo Gutiérrez or Jackson Martínez returning to form will help Los Cafeteros win the championship. However, the dream scenario for Colombia is Radamel Falcao returning to his old form. Before his injury, the Colombian striker terrorized many defenses and scored a magnitude of goals for club and country. Yet Falcao after his injury has not been able to produce, which has resulted with Los Cafeteros struggling in the World Cup Qualifiers to the 2018 World Cup.
They currently sit in seventh place with a 1-1-2 (W-D-L) record and a negative two goal differential. An inform striker is the difference for Colombia turning their post World Cup slump around. However, the road to lifting the Copa América this June has been made more difficult with the drawing.
They were placed with the United States, Costa Rica and Paraguay - a group of death. Three out of the four nations in this group participated in the 2014 World Cup and they all advanced to the knockout stages. Los Ticos and Los Cafeteros went as far to the quarterfinals before being sent home. As for Paraguay, they are a country on the rise. In the South American qualifiers, they are currently in fourth place with a 2-1-1 record and a positive one goal differential.
The Colombians will be heavy favorites to advance from this group in first place due to their immense talent level. However if history has taught Los Cafeteros fans anything, it's that being a favorite does not always work out.
Columbia will earn first place in the group stages and will be eliminated in the semifinals. The Colombians will come within 90 minutes of playing in their first final since 2001 but they will fall just short.