The Colombian Under-20 World Cup team looks to move one step closer to advancing to the next round of the tournament in their match against the struggling Malian team Tuesday at 8PM.
With Mali already one game down in group play, Colombia knows that a victory will not come easy because their opponents are fighting to survive.
“[Mali] knows that one loss virtually means a return ticket. This requires us to not make mistakes, to manage the game calmly,” Colombia’s coach Eduardo Lara told reporters.
Despite their decisive victory against France last weekend, the Colombian team will look to remain humble in Tuesday’s performance. Lara reminded his team that “just as victory arrives, defeat arrives, and so we have to keep our feet on the ground.” He added that “those that blink, lose.”
The coach said he would not make changes to the lineup. He hopes that his midfielder James Rodriguez will be able to play well with a splint after taking a kick to his left hand.
After a disappointing 0-2 loss to South Korea in the first round, the Malian coach Sekou Diallo said “we will fight until the end, because we came to Colombia with our head high and looking for victory.
“We played well against the Koreans, although our team struggled a little from not being accustomed to the altitude in Bogota. We hope to correct that aspect over the next few days,” said Diallo.
Colombia’s captain Pedro Franco echoed the sentiments of his coach. “Mali will be tricky opponents, with physically powerful players. We can’t give them too much space. The match with France was hugely important, but we realize that we haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’re committed to this, and we want to get as far as we can,” said Franco.