The Colombia national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Colombia) represents Colombia in international football competitions and is overseen by the Colombian Football Federation. It is a member of the CONMEBOL and is currently ranked thirteenth in the FIFA World Rankings.[13] The team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country.

Since the mid-1980s, the national team has been a symbol fighting the country's negative reputation. This has made the sport popular and made the national team a sign of nationalism, pride and passion for many Colombians worldwide. Colombia is known for having a passionate fan base.[14][15]

Colombia had its strongest period during the 1990s. A 1993 match resulted in a 0–5 win over Argentina which began a special "mutual respect" rivalry between both nations.[16] The goalkeeper René Higuita achieved fame from his eccentric scorpion kick clearance against England at Wembley Stadium in 1995. Stars from Colombia's team included Carlos Valderrama and Faustino Asprilla. During this era Colombia qualified for the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups, only reaching the second round in 1990. Following the death of Andrés Escobar after the 1994 World Cup, Colombia's team faded in the latter half of the 1990s. They were the champions of the 2001 Copa América, which they hosted and set a new Copa América record of conceding no goals and winning each match. Prior to that success, they were runners-up to Peru in the 1975 Copa América. In total, Colombia has gained a top four result in seven Copa Américas. Colombia was the first team to win FIFA best mover in 1993 where the achievement was first introduced and the second team after Croatia to win it twice in 2012.[17]

Colombia missed three World Cups between 2002 and 2010. During the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Colombia showed improvement over the 2011 Copa América, bringing its rank up to the top ten for the first time since 2002 and into the top five consistently for the first time since 2004. After a 16-year-long wait, in 2014 Colombia finally returned to the World Cup, where they were able to advance to the quarter-finals, the furthest Colombia has ever made it in a World Cup.[17][18] Colombia's midfielder James Rodríguez won two awards, the Golden Boot for most goals (6) and Best Goal of the Tournament.

The 1962 World Cup match against the Soviet Union finished in a 4–4 tie after Colombia had been down 4–1, making it one of the biggest comebacks in World Cup history. In that game, Colombia also scored a direct corner kick goal, also making it the only direct corner kick goal in World Cup history.


Early years

Colombia played its first official matches at the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games. The Colombia national football team was composed mostly by all the players of the Club Juventud Bogotana (now Millonarios).[19] Alfonso Novoa was the manager of Colombia until 23 February.

The first game was played on 10 February 1938 against Mexico. Colombia was defeated 1–3; Luis Argüelles, Luis de la Fuente and Horacio Casarín scored for Mexico, while Marcos Mejía scored for Colombia. Colombia was able to obtain the bronze medal, with two wins and three losses. The same year, Colombia played at the I Bolivarian Games in Bogotá, where they finished fourth with one win and three losses. Fernando Paternoster was the manager of Colombia, the side's first foreign manager.

Colombia did not play again until 1945, when they participated for the first time at the South American Championship, finishing in fifth place. This time, Colombia was composed by players of Junior de Barranquilla save for Antonio de la Hoz (who played for Sporting de Barranquilla) and Pedro Ricardo López (who played for Boca Juniors de Cali).[11] Roberto Meléndez was player and coach of Colombia throughout the tournament.

The first match of Colombia in the professional era was played on 6 April in the 1949 South American Championship, a 3–0 defeat against Paraguay. Austrian coach Friedrich Donnenfeld was the manager of Colombia during the tournament; he had moved with his family to Colombia due to World War II, and Atlético Junior would be his first team as a coach.[11] As Junior was chosen to represent Colombia in the tournament, he became in the first European manager of the Colombia national team. The team, however, repeated their losing streak since, as in the previous tournament, ended eighth with two draws and five losses, scoring four goals.

After a withdrawal in 1938 and getting banned in 1954 (due to the controversial El Dorado era), Colombia participated for the first time in qualifying for the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden. Their first match was on 16 June 1957 against Uruguay in Bogotá, a 1–1 draw. Colombia lost their next matches, leaving them at the bottom of the group.

At the 1962 World Cup, Colombia lost their first match, 2–1 against Uruguay. Luis Cubilla and Jorge Sasía scored for Uruguay at the 56th and 75th minute respectively, while Francisco Zuluaga scored a 19th-minute penalty goal for Colombia. In the second match, they earned a 4–4 draw with the Soviet Union, champions of the 1960 European Nations' Cup. It should be noted that in this game, Colombia scored four goals against Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin, widely considered the best goalkeeper in football history. Also in that game, Marcos Coll scored the only olympic goal in World Cup history so far. Unfortunately, the Colombian campaign in 1962 ended with a 5–0 defeat against Yugoslavia, who finished in fourth place in the tournament.

1990s: Golden Era

At 1990 World Cup, Colombia defeated United Arab Emirates 2–0, lost to Yugoslavia 1–0, and earned their place in the round of 16 after a 1–1 draw with West Germany, who would later win the World Cup. Colombia would be eliminated in their next match against Cameroon with a 2–1 defeat in extra time.

For the 1994 World Cup, Colombia finished top of their qualifying group without having lost a match, which included a historic 5–0 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires. Expectations of the team were high, some even naming them as favourites to win the tournament. Colombia was assigned to the Group A with the hosts United States, Romania, and Switzerland. During the tournament, Colombia only earned one win and suffered two losses, which would eliminate them in the first phase.

Colombia ended their qualification for the 1998 World Cup in third place with 28 points, two points below first-place Argentina with 30 points. Colombia was assigned to the Group G alongside Tunisia, England and Romania. Romania obtained a 1–0 victory in the first match. Colombia's second match was a 1–0 win against Tunisia, with a goal from Leider Preciado. In the last match, however, England won the game 2–0, thereby eliminating Colombia.

2001 Copa America

Stamp commemorating the match played against Uruguay in the 1962 World Cup.

The 2001 Copa América was the first Copa América held in Colombia. Prior to the tournament, meetings were held by CONMEBOL authorities who were concerned about potential security issues in Colombia, and the tournament was cancelled on 1 July, just ten days before the opening match.[21] On 6 July, CONMEBOL decided to reinstate the tournament, which was held on schedule. Canada had already disbanded its training camp and released its players, so Costa Rica (a CONCACAF invitee) was invited to the tournament. Claiming that Argentine players had received death threats from terrorist groups, the Argentine Football Association decided to withdraw from the competition the day before the first game, with Honduras (a CONCACAF invitee) hastily invited and flown in by the Colombian Air Force to participate.[21] There were no terrorist incidents within the competition. Colombia had a strong run through the tournament, winning their first Copa América title by defeating Mexico (a CONCACAF invitee) with a goal from Iván Córdoba in the second half.

Depression Era (2002–2010)

For the 2002 World Cup, Colombia only managed to place sixth in the qualification round, tied with Uruguay, but failing to qualify due to goal difference. Colombia would also eventually fail to qualify for the 2006 edition in Germany and for the 2010 World Cup, mainly because their constant change of formations and struggles to score goals in the last games of the qualification.

A new golden generation (2010–present)

In the 2011 Copa América, Colombia made a good run topping their group and achieving a draw to the host nation Argentina, who were the favourites. In the next round, Colombia would be eliminated in a 2–0 lost against Peru in extra time.

"We can't stop people talking about us, nor should we duck away from positive opinions. This national squad, with a new generation of players, is making history. Nowadays nearly all of us are playing in Europe and I think we've got a wider variety of players and talent than we did at the 1994 World Cup, when this pressure was on them too. But we can't afford to get too carried away with what people say. Of course we want to have a great tournament, but we mustn't let ourselves get weighed down by external pressures."
Jackson Martínez on the current generation and its run into the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[11]

The Colombian side gained Leonel Álvarez as the new coach following the resignation of Hernán Darío Gómez, but was sacked after three games with disappointing results, which led in the hiring of José Pékerman. The Colombian squad would break a personal qualifying best record, and raise the FIFA ranking consistently into the top ten and allowed them to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 16 years. Celebrations broke throughout the nation, as many neturals hailed Colombia as a dark-horse towards being a World Cup contender.[23][11][11][11] Often, Colombia were noted by many figures in Colombia such as Carlos Valderrama as a team that could become the most successful Colombian squad in history.[23][11]

2014 World Cup

Colombia topped off their return in the 2014 World Cup after a 16-year absence by defeating Greece 3–0.[11] Colombia then edged a 2–1 victory over the Ivory Coast to dispute Group C's top spot days later.[12] On the same day, Japan and Greece drew 0–0 and automatically qualified Colombia to the round of 16 for the first time in 24 years since the 1990 World Cup.[12] In its final group stage game, Colombia defeated Japan 4–1 to win Group C and become the third South American team (following Brazil and Argentina) to go 3–0 in group stage in World Cup history. The Japan match also saw goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón, the last active player from the country's previous World Cup appearance in 1998, become the oldest player ever to appear in a World Cup final tournament. Colombia went on to defeat Uruguay 2–0 on 28 June in the knockout round, securing a spot in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Colombia then fell to hosts Brazil 2–1 in the quarter-final round in controversy, where media and figures such as Diego Maradona criticized FIFA and Carlos Velasco Carballo for "favoring" Brazil and being biased in disallowing a goal from Mario Yepes and allowing too many fouls by the Brazilians to occur without any yellow cards being shown.[12][12][12][12][12][12]

Despite the elimination, the national team was greeted by tens of thousands of Colombians in Bogotá, welcoming them back as heroes and restoring pride to the nation.[12][12] Colombia would then receive the FIFA Fair Play Trophy and have James Rodríguez and Juan Cuadrado end as the World Cup's leading goal scorer and assist leader, respectively.[13][13]

2015 Copa América

Colombia had a disappointing 2015 Copa América, having won only a single game during the group stage match against Brazil, with their only goal of the tournament. Colombia would be eliminated by Argentina in the next round via penalty shootout, ending their campaign with one win, two draws and one loss. Only one goal was scored for throughout the tournament, by Jeison Murillo, who would later win the tournament's Best Young Player award and be included in the tournament's Star XI.

Copa América Centenario

Colombia began their campaign with a 0–2 victory against hosts United States. Days later, they sealed their qualification to the quarter-finals with a 2–1 victory against Paraguay. However, they fell to Costa Rica 2–3 and finished second in the group following a complete change with 11 of their starters. On 17 June, they advanced to the semi-finals with a win against Peru on penalties 4–2 in front of 79,000 fans at MetLife Stadium. Colombia would then lose (2–0) to eventual tournament winners Chile following mistakes by their defence. Colombia won the third-place match against the United States to seal their best result since winning the 2001 tournament.


With political issues with history/culture related nations Ecuador and Venezuela, Colombia has always taken interest. While Colombia has natural rival matches with neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela, the matches are not as popular as the rival matches against Argentina and Brazil.

The historical Colombian 5–0 victory in 1993, beating host Argentina in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, was the very first time Argentina lost in its home stadium Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti during a qualifying match for a World Cup. Argentina come as a previous twice World Cup champion. It caused a huge upset and start of a respective rivalries. Unlike other rivalries full of hostility, the Colombian–Argentine rivalry is more based on "respect" than a "hated" relationship always attracting great interest between both nations.[13] Thus, the Colombian–Argentine rivalry has been considered "unique" and "special". In a way, the Colombian–Argentine relationship is viewed as "sparring partners" in world football.

During the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals, Brazil was playing Colombia. The match ended 2–1 winning Brazil, with a disallowed goal from Colombian captain Mario Yepes that could have made the tie for Colombia. Matches afterwards between the two countries have been played with great intensity and hostility. However, following the tragic LaMia Flight 2933 incident in 2016, the rivalry has improved in a less hostile matter; the sportsmanship from Atlético Nacional in regards to concede the title to allow Chapecoense to be awarded the championship was highly praised amongst not only Brazilians but globally. A unofficial friendly between the two countries was played in 2017 using only domestic players in honor of the plane crash's victims as well as the friendship between the respective domestic clubs.

Schedule and results

  Win   Draw   Loss


Colombia won its Copa América in 2001.



Current squad

The following players have been called up for friendlies against South Korea on November 10th, 2017 and China on November 14, 2017.
Caps and goals updated as of November 14, 2017 after the match against China.

0#0Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
11GKLeandro Castellanos(1984-03-09) 9 March 1984 10 Santa Fe
121GKJosé Fernando Cuadrado(1985-06-01) 1 June 1985 10 Once Caldas

182DFFrank Fabra(1991-02-22) 22 February 1991 171 Boca Juniors
42DFStefan Medina(1992-06-14) 14 June 1992 110 Monterrey
32DFÓscar Murillo(1988-04-18) 18 April 1988 110 Pachuca
132DFYerry Mina(1994-09-23) 23 September 1994 93 Palmeiras
252DFÉder Álvarez Balanta(1993-02-28) 28 February 1993 80 Basel
232DFDavinson Sánchez(1996-05-12) 12 May 1996 70 Tottenham Hotspur
242DFWilliam Tesillo(1990-02-02) 2 February 1990 30 Santa Fe

63MFCarlos Sánchez(1986-02-06) 6 February 1986 830 Fiorentina
83MFAbel Aguilar(1985-01-06) 6 January 1985 687 Deportivo Cali
213MFEdwin Cardona(1992-12-08) 8 December 1992 315 Boca Juniors
203MFGiovanni Moreno(1986-07-01) 1 July 1986 202 Shanghai Shenhua
53MFWílmar Barrios(1993-10-16) 16 October 1993 80 Boca Juniors
143MFMateus Uribe(1991-03-21) 21 March 1991 50 América
223MFJefferson Lerma(1994-10-25) 25 October 1994 20 Levante

74FWCarlos Bacca(1986-09-08) 8 September 1986 4314 Villarreal
164FWMiguel Borja(1993-01-26) 26 January 1993 52 Palmeiras
24FWDuván Zapata(1991-04-01) 1 April 1991 40 Sampdoria
174FWFelipe Pardo(1990-08-17) 17 August 1990 31 Olympiacos
264FWAvilés Hurtado(1987-04-20) 20 April 1987 20 Monterrey

Recent call-ups

The following players have been recently called up in the last 12 months.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GKDavid Ospina(1988-08-31) 31 August 1988 830 Arsenalv.  Peru, 10 October 2017
GKCamilo Vargas(1989-03-09) 9 March 1989 50 Atlético Nacionalv.  Peru, 10 October 2017
GKDavid González(1982-07-20) 20 July 1982 20 Independiente Medellínv.  Ecuador, 28 March 2017

DFCristián Zapata(1986-09-30) 30 September 1986 542 Milanv.  South Korea, 10 November 2017
DFSantiago Arias(1992-01-13) 13 January 1992 380 PSVv.  Peru, 10 October 2017
DFFarid Díaz(1983-07-20) 20 July 1983 130 Olimpiav.  Peru, 10 October 2017
DFDaniel Bocanegra(1987-04-23) 23 April 1987 40 Atlético Nacionalv.  Brazil, 5 September 2017
DFFrancisco Meza(1991-08-29) 29 August 1991 00 UANLv.  Brazil, 5 September 2017
DFPablo Armero(1986-11-02) 2 November 1986 682 Bahiav.  Cameroon, 13 June 2017
DFFelipe Aguilar(1993-01-20) 20 January 1993 30 Atlético Nacionalv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
DFLeyvin Balanta(1990-09-03) 3 September 1990 10 Santa Fev.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
DFLuis Manuel Orejuela(1995-08-20) 20 August 1995 00 Ajaxv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
DFJuan Sebastián Quintero(1995-03-23) 23 March 1995 00 Sporting Gijónv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017

MFJuan Cuadrado(1988-05-26) 26 May 1988 697 Juventusv.  South Korea, 10 November 2017
MFJames Rodríguez(1991-07-12) 12 July 1991 6021 Bayern Munichv.  South Korea, 10 November 2017
MFYimmi Chará(1991-04-02) 2 April 1991 60 Juniorv.  Peru, 10 October 2017
MFGustavo Cuéllar(1992-10-14) 14 October 1992 30 Flamengov.  Peru, 10 October 2017
MFGuillermo Celis(1993-05-08) 8 May 1993 60 Vitória de Guimarãesv.  Brazil, 5 September 2017
MFDaniel Torres(1989-11-15) 15 November 1989 140 Alavésv.  Cameroon, 13 June 2017
MFJosé Izquierdo(1992-07-07) 7 July 1992 21 Brighton & Hove Albionv.  Cameroon, 13 June 2017
MFMacnelly Torres(1984-11-01) 1 November 1984 484 Atlético Nacionalv.  Ecuador, 28 March 2017
MFJonathan Copete(1988-01-23) 23 January 1988 20 Santosv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
MFVladimir Hernández(1989-02-08) 8 February 1989 10 Santosv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
MFSantiago Montoya(1991-09-15) 15 September 1991 10 Deportes Tolimav.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
MFAndrés Ibargüen(1992-05-07) 7 May 1992 00 Racingv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017

FWRadamel Falcao (captain)(1986-02-10) 10 February 1986 7028 Monacov.  Peru, 10 October 2017
FWTeófilo Gutiérrez(1985-05-17) 17 May 1985 5115 Juniorv.  Peru, 10 October 2017
FWLuis Muriel(1991-04-16) 16 April 1991 171 Sevillav.  Peru, 10 October 2017
FWLuis Quiñones(1991-06-26) 26 June 1991 10 UANLv.  Bolivia, 23 March 2017
FWOrlando Berrío(1991-02-14) 14 February 1991 40 Flamengov.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
FWMichael Rangel(1991-03-08) 8 March 1991 10 Kasımpaşav.  Brazil, 25 January 2017
FWHarold Preciado(1994-06-01) 1 June 1994 00 Shenzhenv.  Brazil, 25 January 2017

Individual records

  • Bold denotes players still playing international football.
As of 14 November 2017[13]

Most capped players

#PlayerNational careerMatchesGoals
1Carlos Valderrama1985–199811111
2Mario Yepes1999–20141026
3Leonel Álvarez1985–19971011
4Freddy Rincón1990–20018417
5David Ospina2007–830
Carlos Sánchez2007–830
7Luis Carlos Perea1987–1994782
8Iván Córdoba1997–2010735
Óscar Córdoba1993–2006730
10Luis Amaranto Perea2003–2014720

Most capped goalkeepers

#PlayerNational careerMatchesGoals
1David Ospina2007–830
2Óscar Córdoba1993–2006730
3René Higuita1987–1999683
4Miguel Calero1995–2009510
Faryd Mondragón1993–2014510

Top scorers

#PlayerNational careerGoalsMatchesAverage
1Radamel Falcao (list)2007–000028700.400
2Arnoldo Iguarán1979–199325680.368
3James Rodríguez2011–000021600.350
4Faustino Asprilla1993–200120570.351
5Freddy Rincón1990–200117840.202
6Teófilo Gutiérrez2009–000015510.294
Víctor Aristizábal1993–200315660.227
8Adolfo Valencia1992–199814370.378
Carlos Bacca2010–000014430.326
10Iván Valenciano1991–200013290.448
Antony de Ávila1983–199813540.241

Former midfielder Marcos Coll is the only player in history to score a rare Olympic goal in a FIFA World Cup game, in the 1962 FIFA World Cup against the Soviet Union. The match finished in a 4–4 tie after a spectacular come back by Colombia from 4–1 to draw the match, making it the biggest comeback in World Cup history.

Coaching staff


Manager José Pékerman
Assistant manager Néstor Lorenzo
Patricio Camps
Pablo Garabello
Physical trainer Eduardo Urtasún
Goalkeeping coach
Carlos Valderrama, Colombia's most capped player in history.
Eduardo Niño


Colombia current kit (2017–present)
HomeAlternatives (yet to be released)
Radamel Falcao is Colombia's all-time top scorer with 28 goals.

Since its inception the Colombia national team has adopted different colors for their uniform. Article history describes the evolution of the Colombia national football team strip along the years.

Competitive record

*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.
***Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

FIFA World Cup

     Champions       Runners-up       Third Place       Fourth Place  

FIFA World Cup recordFIFA World Cup qualification record
1930Did Not Exist
1950Did Not Enter
1958Did Not Qualify3rd401338
1962Group Stage14th30125111st211021
1966Did Not Qualify3rd4103410
1990Round of 1614th4112441st632163
1994Group Stage19th3102451st6420132
2002Did Not Qualify6th187652015
2022To Be Determined
1. Played Intercontinental playoffs.

FIFA Confederations Cup

FIFA Confederations Cup Record
1992Did Not Qualify
2003Fourth Place4th520355
2005Did Not Qualify
2021To Be Determined
TotalFourth Place1/10520355

Copa América

     Champions       Runners-up       Third Place       Fourth Place  

South American Championship

South American Championship
1916Did not exist
1945Fifth place5th6114725
1947Eighth place8th7025219
1957Fifth place5th62041025
1963Seventh place7th60151019
1967Did not qualify
TotalFifth place5/1932362333111

Copa América

Copa América
1979Group Stage5th421152
1987Third place3rd430183
1989Group Stage6th412154
1991Fourth place4th722356
1993Third place3rd632164
2004Fourth place4th631277
2007Group Stage9th310239
2016Third place3rd631276
2019To Be Determined
Total1 title16/168140172410175



The following is a list of the Colombian national team managers since its first official match in 1938:[13]

#Colombia national team managers since 1938FromTo
1 Alfonso Novoa1938-02-101938-02-23
2 Fernando Paternoster1938-08-081938-08-21
3 Roberto Meléndez1945-01-211945-02-21
4 José Arana Cruz1946-12-091946-12-20
5 Lino Taioli1947-12-021947-12-29
6 Friedrich Donnenfeld1949-04-031949-05-11
7 Pedro López1957-03-161957-04-01
8 Rodolfo Orlandini1957-06-161957-07-07
9 Adolfo Pedernera1961-02-051962-06-07
10 Gabriel Ochoa Uribe1963-03-101963-03-31
11 Efraín Sánchez1963-09-011963-09-04
12 Antonio Julio de la Hoz1965-06-201965-08-07
13 Cesar López Fretes1966-11-301966-12-11
14 Francisco Zuluaga1968-10-161969-08-24
15 Cesar López Fretes1970-05-201970-05-20
16 Toza Veselinović1972-03-291973-07-05
17 Efraín Sánchez1975-07-201975-10-28
18 Blagoje Vidinić1976-10-151979-09-05
19 Carlos Bilardo1980-01-051981-09-13
20 Efraín Sánchez1983-02-141984-10-11
21 Gabriel Ochoa Uribe1985-02-011985-11-03
22 Francisco Maturana1987-06-111990-06-23
23 Luis Augusto García1991-01-291991-07-21
24 Humberto Ortiz1992-07-081992-08-02
25 Francisco Maturana1993-02-241994-06-26
26 Hernán Darío Gómez1995-01-311998-06-26
27 Javier Álvarez1999-02-091999-11-19
28 Luis Augusto García2000-02-122001-04-24
29 Francisco Maturana2001-06-032001-11-14
30 Reinaldo Rueda2002-05-072002-05-12
31 Francisco Maturana2002-11-202003-11-19
32 Reinaldo Rueda2004-02-182006-10-12
33 Jorge Luis Pinto2007-01-012008-09-01
34 Eduardo Lara2008-09-012009-11-01
35 Hernán Darío Gómez2010-05-042011-08-22
36 Leonel Álvarez2011-08-252011-12-14
37 José Pékerman2012-01-04Present

See also


Preceded by
1999 – Brazil
South American Champions
2001 (First title)
Succeeded by
2004 – Brazil