The Colombian Under-20 World Cup team will attempt to remain undefeated in their first elimination game against Costa Rica on Tuesday at 8PM.
The young team will look to ride their momentum from their dominant performance in group play, in which Colombia earned a perfect nine points and only conceded one goal in three games.
Colombian defender Santiago Arias will rejoin the lineup after getting injured in the game against Mali and missing the South Korea game. Arias will need to play carefully though because he and four other teammates have already received yellow cards and are only one more away from missing the quarterfinals.
Although the Colombian team is heavily favored, midfielder James Rodriguez remembered that “two years ago, when in Egypt everyone was happy to have the World Cup at home and their selection as the first in the group, Costa Rica arrived and ended the illusion.”
After an awful performance in group play from which they limped into the elimination round, Costa Rica will look to bounce back from getting shut out in their game against Ecuador. Costa Rican coach Ronald Gonzalez is grateful to have another chance.
“I’m glad we’ve been given another opportunity to step things up a level. I don’t mind the fact that it’s against Colombia in their backyard, because we’re going to give the best possible account of ourselves.”
Gonzalez knows a thing or two about beating Colombia. He scored the game winning goal against the Colombian U-20 team in group play in the 1989 Saudi Arabia U-20 World Cup.
Colombia coach Eduardo Lara displayed confidence in his team but acknowledged that there is no room for error in the elimination rounds.
“You can’t afford to make the slightest mistake from this round on. We’re starting to feel the physical effects now but I can’t ask any more of these boys. Playing in Bogota suits us because we can feel the support of the whole of Colombia there, which makes us stronger.”