Colombia’s National Soccer Team released on Monday its list of 23 players that will compete in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, beginning June 12.
Manager Jose Nestor Pekerman called on the following 23 players to compete in the 2014 World Cup. Colombia is in Group C with Greece, Côte d’Ivoire, and Japan.
1 – David Ospina – OGC Nice (France)
Ospina was born August 31, 1988 in Medellin, Antioquia. Ospina is the starting goalkeeper, with 42 appearances on the national team. His talent has been internationally recognized and is rumored to join English squad Arsenal, as his contract with French side OGC Nice expired at the end of last year. Ospina’s talent has often been overlooked, leading him to be one of the more underrated players on the Colombian squad.
22 – Faryd Mondragon – Deportivo Cali (Colombia)
Mondragon was born on June 21, 1971 in Cali, Valle del Cauca. Mondragon, at the age of 42, will be the oldest player to ever compete in a World Cup should he be called on to play. Mondragon was called on in the 1994 World Cup, but didn’t play. In the 1998 World Cup, the last one Colombia qualified for, Mondragon was the starting goalkeeper. He brings World Cup experience to a team without any, and can still compete, playing on the national squad as recently as a friendly match in which Colombia tied vs. Senegal on May 31 of this year.
12 – Camilo Vargas – Santa Fe (Colombia)
Vargas was born on 9 January 1989 in Bogota, the nation’s capital. Although he has not yet played for the Senior national side, he is often considered part of the future squad, starting for the Bogota-based club Independiente Santa Fe.
3 – Mario Yepes – Atalanta (Italy) – Captain
Yepes was born on January 13, 1976 in Cali, Valle del Cauca. Yepes is captain of the team and an experienced player, with 96 appearances for the national team and an illustrious career that includes stints at French club Paris Saint-Germain and Italian team AC Milan. Yepes brings experience to ‘Los Cafeteros’ and necessary leadership for defense — one of the weaker points of the Colombian side.
2 – Cristian Zapata – AC Milan (Italy)
Zapata was born on September 30, 1986 in Padilla, Cauca. Zapata, like Yepes, is a center back with successful Italian side AC Milan, where he is on contract until Summer 2016.
16 – Eder Alvarez Balanta – River Plate (Argentina)
Balanta was born on 28 February 1993 in Bogota. Balanta is a centre back with 2 appearances for the national squad, and is seen as the future of Colombia’s defense. He was a key factor in this year’s Argentine champion team, River Plate.
23 – Carlos Valdes – San Lorenzo (Argentina)
Valdes was born on May 22, 1985 in Cali, Valle del Cauca. Valdes is a defender who is capable of playing several defensive positions, and is often a starter for the Colombian squad.
7 – Pablo Armero – West Ham United (England)
“Miñía,” as Armero is often referred to, was born on November 2, 1986 in Tumaco, Nariño. Armero is a left back, often playing as a winger, known for his strength in counterattacking and for setting-up goals. Often seen with a big smile and the first to join in goal celebrations, Armero is viewed as the embodiment of happiness on the team for his positive attitude.
18 – Juan Camilo Zúñiga – SSC Napoli (Italy)
Zuñiga was born on December 14, 1985 in Chigorodo, Antioquia. Zuñiga, a left back, often playing as a winger, is recognized as one of the better players overall on the team. A regular starter for both club and country, he is lauded for his consistency and speed. He recently recuperated from a knee injury, appearing during the last game played by Colombia, a friendly exhibition match versus Senegal.
4 – Santiago Arias – PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Arias was born on January, 13 1992 in Medellin, Antioquia. Arias, a right back, has gained valuable experience with Dutch club PSV, and started in place of Zuñiga for Colombia during his injury. Despite his youth, he is seen as a rising star in Colombia, and part of the future of Colombia’s defence.
11 – Juan Guillermo Cuadrado – Fiorentina (Italy)
Cuadrado was born on May 26, 1988 in Necocli, Antioquia. Cuadrado, a winger, has found success with his Italian club Fiorentina, and regularly starts for the Colombian squad. He is recognized for his footwork and ability to fool defenders, making him a dangerous player for the opposition. He is currently rumored to be in the watch of English club Arsenal and Spanish side FC Barcelona.
5 – Carlos Carbonero – River Plate (Argentina)
Carbonero was born on July 25, 1990 in Bogota, Colombia. Carbonero was crucial in River Plate’s recent Argentine championship, and was a last minute call-up by coach Jose Nestor Pekerman as a replacement for injured player Aldo Leao Ramirez.
6 – Carlos Sanchez – Elche (Spain)
Sanchez was born on February 6, 1986 in Quibdo, Choco. Sanchez is typically called up for the national squad, with 44 appearances for ‘Los Cafeteros.’
8 – Abel Aguilar – Toulouse (France)
Aguilar was born on January 6, 1985 in Bogota. Aguilar has been a figure on the national squad since 2004, regularly starting. He was also a figure on the youth squads of Colombia, captaining both the U17 and U20 teams.
10 – James Rodriguez – AS Monaco (France)
Rodriguez was born on July 12, 1991 in Cucuta, Norte de Santander. With the exception of Falcao (out with an injury), Rodriguez is arguably the best known player on the international level, seen as one of the rising stars on the world stage. Rodriguez has a strong presence on the pitch, playing as a winger and attacking midfielder, successful for both club and country. Rodriguez is often referred to as the “new Pibe,” in reference to 1980s and 90s Colombian star Carlos Valderrama.
13 – Fredy Guarin – Internazionale Milano (Italy)
Guarin was born on June 30, 1986 in Puerto Boyaca, Boyaca. A player internationally recognized for his talent and energy as midfielder, he starts regularly for both club and country and is a key figure on the national squad. He is also capable of goals from long distance and is a prolific playmaker.
20 – Juan Fernando Quintero – Porto (Portugal)
Quintero was born on January 18, 1993 in Medellin, Antioquia. Quintero is seen as one of Colombia’s emerging stars playing primarily as an attacking midfielder. He was a major figure in the 2013 South American Youth Championship, captaining the team and playing in the 2013 U20 World Cup. He is known for his abilities to score off of place kicks.
14 – Victor Ibarbo – Cagliari (Italy)
Ibarbo was born on May 19, 1990 in Tumaco, Nariño. Ibarbo is a versatile player who is comfortable in either a striking position, or as a winger. Signed by Italian club Cagliari in 2011, his talent was recognized early on, and should be expected to be a substitute for the national team.
15 – Alexander Mejia – Atletico Nacional (Colombia)
Mejia was born on September 7, 1988 in Barranquilla, Atlantico. A player for Colombian champions Atletico Nacional, Mejia was a key figure for their victory, as a creative playmaker and captain.
17 – Carlos Bacca – Sevilla (Spain)
Bacca was born on September 8, 1986 in Barranquilla, Atlantico. A prolific goal scorer, and only emerging recently as a figure for the Colombian squad, he was the top scorer in the Belgian league with Club Brugge before transferring to Sevilla in Spain and playing an important role in the club’s fifth place finish in La Liga, scoring 14 goals.
9 – Teofilo “Teo” Gutierrez – River Plate (Argentina)
Teo was born on May 28, 1985 in Barranquilla, Atlantico. A controversial player both on and off the field, Teo’s talent as a striker with the national team is obvious as he just recently replaced the famous Carlos ‘El Pibe’ Valderrama as the 10th leading goalscorer in Colombia’s history. Teo’s success with the national team, however, has not necessarily been duplicated at the club level.
19 – Adrian Ramos – Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Ramos was born on January 22, 1986 in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca. Having recently transferred to Borussia Dortmund after an excellent season with Hertha BSC and being the striker with the fourth most goals in the German Bundesliga. He recently made a comeback to the national team after a three year absence.
21 – Jackson Martinez – Porto (Portugal)
Jackson was born on October 3, 1986 in Quibdo, Choco. Touted to be the replacement for injured superstar Radamel Falcao, Martinez has been the top scorer in the Portuguese Primeira Liga for two consecutive years. A strong and accurate striker, Jackson can count on the support on former Porto teammate James Rodriguez, and current teammate at the same club, Juan Fernando Quintero.
Notable exclusions from the final 23
The most obvious exclusion from the list is AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao Garcia, who suffered from an ACL tear during a match back in January. Veteran defender Luis Amaranto Perea will also be absent due to an injury and striker Luis Muriel was eliminated on a technicality. Midfielder Aldo Leao Ramirez was injured during a practice, despite being included in the final 23. He was replaced by Carlos Carbonero.
Also missing from the original 30 players called on by Argentine coach Jose Nestor Pekerman are defenders Aquivaldo Mosquera and Stefan Medina, in addition to midfielders Macnelly Torres, Elkin Soto and Edwin Valencia.
- Conozca a los 23 futbolistas que representarán a Colombia en Brasil-2014 (El Tiempo)
- Estos son los 23 de Pékerman (El Espectador)