Colombia’s magical World Cup run despite off-field issues


SYDNEY, Australia — As quickly as the primary notes of the “Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia” — “Oh Gloria Inmarcesible” — rang out at Stadium Australia on Sunday night, you knew what sort of night time it was going to be. As one, the ocean of canary-yellow shirts surrounding the pitch on all sides burst to life in cacophonous unity, belting out the ode to the independence of Cartagena from Spanish rule. On the pitch, the 11 gamers despatched out by Colombia supervisor Nelson Abadía responded in variety, the feelings on their faces seen. Such was the vigour with which they sang their nation’s anthem, one puzzled if they could want a breather earlier than they acquired to the precise job of the soccer.

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Throughout the 90 minutes that adopted, the throng of Colombian followers that had adopted their girls throughout Australia did their finest to elevate them to at least one extra victory, another piece of historical past. Every time Colombia drove ahead, they had been greeted with a rising decibel stage of pleasure. When England tried to reply with a sustained interval of possession, it was met by a refrain of boos and jeers.

There is an influence to this. In Colombia’s 1-0 win over Jamaica the week prior, the gamers had seemed to harness their supporters’ voices to shut out their win, pumping their arms within the path of the stands in stoppages in play to stoke the noise and supply them with some intangible increase or benefit. Weeks prior, with vocal help at their again, as Las Cafeteras surprised Germany via an indescribable piece of ability from striker Linda Caicedo and a 97th-minute winner from Manuela Vanegas, a win that may in the end show pivotal in knocking the European finalists out within the group phases. As Abadía declared post-win over the Reggae Girlz, they had been right here to make historical past.

Alas, for these within the stands, there was to be no repeat of that magic on Sunday. Challenged by the South American aspect, Sarina Wiegman’s England had been capable of finding the solutions they wanted; overcoming a deficit for the primary time all event and organising a date with Australia on Wednesday. Colombia, on the steadiness of play, gave pretty much as good as they acquired. It can arguably be mentioned that it was extra their very own defensive lapses than any type of dominating play from England that noticed them concede, they usually ended the sport with such a livid flurry of assaults that few would have been stunned if the sport had been compelled to further time.

But it was to not be. Colombia are going residence. South America — and the Americas basically — now don’t have any extra representatives left on the event.

Therein, nevertheless, maybe lies the silver lining, the signal that this World Cup represents not a flash within the pan however the begin — or extra precisely, the continuation — of one thing particular. The seeds are there for Colombia to make the 2023 World Cup the beginning of a brand new chapter, to start to problem the beforehand hegemonic dominance that Brazil has held over the event. They are there if the desire exists to do what is required.

It all begins in fact, with Caicedo. After being named the participant of the event finally 12 months’s Copa América Femenina, the 18-year-old, Real Madrid-bound sensation confirmed at this World Cup that she will function the bedrock for this workforce for years to return, already nicely on her technique to being recognised as being one of many world’s finest gamers despite her age.

Caicedo, although, is certainly one of a lot of gamers rising via the ranks of Colombian soccer, serving because the shining gentle of the aspect that reached the quarterfinals of the U20 World Cup final 12 months, in addition to the U17 squad that reached the ultimate of that World Cup. Defender Ana María Guzmán was one other member of these squads and joined Caicedo in making her mark at this event, offering the help for Catalina Usme’s successful strike towards Jamaica and approaching together with her aspect chasing the sport towards England.

Abadía, revered for his capacity to develop gamers, has spoken of realizing these gamers since they had been 12 and, with the backing of the federation, guiding their development into the senior workforce. Clearly, it is not solely on the senior stage the place Colombia is making strides however on the youth stage as nicely.

Also in 2022, Colombia pushed Brazil arduous within the last of the Copa América Femenina at Bucaramanga’s Estadio Alfonso López earlier than fading late. But with the core of Abadía’s squad now established and additional battle-tested in Australia and set to be strengthened with the younger expertise coming via — mixed with the stumbles of Brazil, the retirement of Marta and the numerous stress on their coach Pia Sundhage — the door seems ajar of their area.

But first, there are issues of their background that have to be addressed.

The drawback of resourcing, as it’s in so many nations all over the world, has been a significant subject in years previous. Some of the workforce’s most recognisable gamers had beforehand spoken out about abuses in the women’s game in the country, with little seemingly ensuing from it besides their discontinued choice for nationwide workforce responsibility.

Last 12 months, the gamers had been compelled to protest over a scarcity of home soccer, to spur their federation that had declared, despite being set to host the Copa América Femenina, that there wasn’t sufficient curiosity to justify working these competitions. Their performances and the work of sponsor-driven campaigns to drive curiosity pushed their federation into motion, however their coach needs extra sooner or later. The followers acquired on board to assist demand change. And that can solely rise in quantity after these shows in Australia.

“It’s going to change,” Abadía mentioned via a translator forward of the England sport. “It will change because what the national team is doing is one more warning that more is needed. Most have gone to Europe or Brazil, but locally they need to be more competitive and have 10 or 12 teams. Using 40 games from the year and that is important for the ones that come.”


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