In 2014, Colombia lit up the tournament with attacking flair and a happy-go-lucky attitude, can they do it again in Russia?
Nickname(s): Los Cafeteros
Best Finish: Quarter-finals (2014)
How they qualified: Colombia finished fourth in the hotly contested CONMEBOL standings to qualify for Russia 2018 without ever truly impressing. In the final qualification match, James Rodriguez’s opener put Los Cafeteros across the line to reach the nation’s sixth tournament.
Coach: Jose Pekerman
The man responsible for the best crop of Colombian players since the golden generation of the 90s is an Argentine who took la Albiceleste to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2006. In 2014 he reached the same stage with Colombia where they were eliminated by hosts Brazil. With the Argentina U-20s team, Pekerman won three consecutive World Cups between 1995 and 2001, before winning the Confederation Cup in 2005 with the senior team.
Key Man: James Rodriguez
Commonly ranked as one of the best players of his generation, James, named after James Bond, burst onto the scene at World Cup 2014 where he narrowly missed out to defeated finalist Lionel Mess for the tournament’s best player. He also scored the tournament’s best goal with a wondrous volley during the 2-0 last-16 defeat of Uruguay. His performances in Brazil earned him a move to Real Madrid who he is still technically contracted to after signing a 2-year-loan deal with Bayern Munich in the summer of 2017.
June 19 vs Japan
June 24 vs Poland
June 28 vs Senegal