Copa America: Colombia squad preview

We continue our run down of the teams involved in the 2011 Copa America, which kicks off on July 1, with a look at Columbia.


A group stage exit from the previous Copa América followed by a limp qualification campaign for the 2010 World Cup suggests Colombia are failing to fire on all cylinders. Hope for los Cafeteros comes in the form of emerging talents, such as Europa League winning pair Freddy Guarín and Radamel Falcao.

Momento de gloria

Colombia claimed their one and only Copa América title a decade ago. The victory came on home soil when Ivan Córdoba soared like the condors of Nevado del Ruiz to head home the winner against Mexico. Cynics say that the tournament was devalued by Argentina’s withdrawal amid security threats.

El director técnico

Hernán Darío Gómez is no stranger to the pressure that comes with coaching his country. El Bolillo served as Franciso Maturana’s number two at a brace of World Cups in the early nineties before calling the shots himself at France 1998. Gómez will be deploying a 4-1-4-1 formation in Argentina that offers plenty of protection at the back but also limits his options up front.

El capitán

Mario Yépes is a natural leader on the pitch and a centre-back fresh from helping AC Milan win yet another scudetto. Super Mario has been a key component of Colombia’s backline for over a decade and played alongside Ivan Córdoba in the 2001 final. Yépes will have to be in constant communication with the less experienced members of los Cafeteros if the side are to maintain their concentration during matches.

El crack

It’s no secret that Colombia are yet to replace Carlos Valderrama and therefore lack the guile to unpick a defence by going through the middle. Gómez plans to get around this deficiency but launching raids down the flanks. Full-back Camilo Zúñiga arrives in Argentina after a blistering year with Napoli and will combine with Freddy Guarín to instigate Colombia’s attacks from the right side of the pitch.

El ídolo

Dayro Moreno has been repeatedly tipped for greatness since he burst onto the scene as a teenager with Once Caldas. DayGlo has the speed and skill to terrorise defences but his lackadaisical approach often leaves his manager frustrated. Turning down a move to Sporting Lisbon in favour of Club Tijuana is a telling insight into Dayro’s personality.

El futuro

If Zúñiga manages to make a nuisance of himself on the right side of the pitch then space could open up for left-back Pablo Armero to get in on the act. Udinese have been reaping the benefits of Armero linking up with Chilean wing wizard Alexis Sanchez and now both players are being linked to big money moves. Should Armero find the net in Argentina watch out for his trademark celebration.

Los marginados

The long-term injury suffered by Giovanni Moreno plus Dorlan Pabon’s exclusion sees Gómez missing out on some sorely missed creativity in the middle of the park.

Rumores de transferencia

Cristian Zapata to Liverpool, Radamel Falcao to Tottenham Hotspur, Pablo Armero to Arsenal.

La botinera

Bucking the trend of party loving Colombian footballers is Radamel Falcao and his wife Lorelei Dahiana Tarón. The couple met at church while Falcao was playing in Argentina and were soon back at the altar getting hitched.

Síguelo en Twitter

@hugorod20 - i want to thank all the wigan fans for your great support this season.

La opinión experta

I’m enjoying what I’m seeing from Hernan Darío Gómez, his tactics and the players he is using. I know he’s focused on setting up the team in a 4-1-4-1 formation. This shape has been working for us but I’m not sure we have an alternative for when we need to impose ourselves on a match. At the heart of our defence I worry that Yépes has not been playing regularly in Italy so I hope that he can hit the ground running alongside Cristian Zapata. Having Argentina in our group makes things difficult but I think if Colombia can get it together for a few good performances we can look back on a successful tournament.

Alexis García - Head coach of La Equidad (Colombian league runners-up)

El objetivo

An improvement on the group stage exit in Venezuela four years ago should be well within Colombia’s grasp. After that, anything achieved in the knock-out stages will be treated as a bonus.

La predicción

Colombia’s 5-0 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires is a treasured but distant memory for fans of los Cafeteros. While Colombia are unlikely to get anything from the match with Argentina they should do enough against Bolivia and Costa Rica to progress from Group A. However, the fact remains that Colombia are still a poorer team than the six South American nations who finished above them in qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. They will need a very kind draw to progress past the quarter-finals.

¿Por qué ser fanático?

Anybody out there wanting to get their hands on some half-time reading material ahead of next season could do worse than picking up a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez’s tale of a struggle against the odds will resonate with most football fans.

¿Un club en League Two?

After being undermined by a series of off-the-pitch problems in the nineties we are back on our feet. With a military presence never far away, we throw Colombia’s lot in with Aldershot FC. Unfortunately, very few in Colombia are happy to hear the news that the Shots are in town.

La fiesta

Throw some Aguardiente down your throat, tuck into the Sancocho soup and let the Vallenato rhythms flow through your body. Join in with the sea of faces down at la Plaza de Bolivar, say it loud and say it proud, “CO-LOM-BIA! CO-LOM-BIA!”

¡Qué curioso!

René Higuita and his scorpion kick were absent from the 1994 World Cup on account of the goalkeeper being out of shape after serving a seven month jail sentence. Higuita was jailed for acting as courier of the ransom money paid to release an 11-year-old girl from kidnappers. The goalkeeper has since said, “"The best moments of my life are the ones I spent in jail.”

La Selección

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice, FRA), Luis Martínez (Once Caldas, COL), Bréiner Castillo (Independiente Medellín, COL).

Defenders: Mario Yépes (AC Milan, ITA), Aquivaldo Mosquera (América, MEX), Luis Amaranto Perea (Atlético Madrid, SPA), Cristian Zapata (Udinese, ITA), Pablo Armero (Udinese, ITA), Camilo Zúñiga (Nápoles, ITA), Yulian Anchico (Pachuca, MEX), Juan David Valencia (Junior, COL).

Midfielders: Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Udinese, ITA), Elkin Soto (Mainz 05, GER), Abel Aguilar (Hércules, SPA), Freddy Guarín (FC Porto, POR), Carlos Sánchez (Valenciennes, FRA), Gustavo Bolívar (Tolima, COL).

Strikers: Hugo Rodallega (Wigan, ENG), Adrián Ramos (Hertha, GER), Teófilo Gutiérrez (Racing, ARG), Radamel Falcao García (FC Porto, POR), Jackson Martínez (Jaguares, MEX) and Dayro Moreno (Club Tijuana, MEX)


v Costa Rica 02/07/2011 15:30 San Salvador de Jujuy

v Argentina 06/07/2011 21:45 Santa Fe

v Bolivia 10/07/2011 16:00 Santa Fe


Fifa ranking: 50

Odds to win: 20/1

Copa America record: P101 W38 D18 L45 F122 A180

Copa America best: 2001 champions

Copa America 2011 squad previews

More teams will follow in this daily series. Plus, for more on Copa America 2011, listen to The South American Football Show.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil