Many thought Colombia’s chances to do something special in Brazil were reduced when Radamel Falcao got left out of the squad due to an injury. Wrong. Another Monaco’s player was ready to make an impact and steal the show reserved for the likes of Lio Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. 22 years old James Rodriguez is leading the scoring table with five goals, including magical pieces against Japan and Uruguay. This kid is the new global sensation and top clubs are putting every dollar to have him in their payroll next season.
2. Sweet Cumbia and Salsa Moves
Colombia’s is not only impressing with their playing style: How about those celebrations? From Pablo Armero’s —the lead choreographer— goal against Greece to James’ latest against Uruguay those moves are worthy of a dance festival. Shakira was right, the “hips don’t lie,” and these guys just want to perform a new dance in samba land.
3. José Pékerman
The Argentine coach has not been defeated in nine World Cup games, a record only held by Italian Vittorio Pozzo since 1938. A quiet honest man whose presence only inspires respect and good manners. He makes perfects substitutions, has outcoached rivals in every World Cup game and keeps players motivated during 90 minutes. If he publishes a self-coaching book should be a must read for those looking to align themselves.
4. Bring Peace to The Country
This Colombian team proves how soccer can affect others aspects of life. Writer Alma Guillermoprieto implies, in a New York Review of Books article, the team’s win against Greece a day helped to decide the presidential elections in favor of incumbent Juan Manuel Santos, who is determined to end 50 years of civil war by maintaining peace talks with FARC guerrillas in Havana. The team is inspiring unity and a life in harmony. The Sí se puede is for everything in this case. A whole nation wants to have a new era and players want to do their part. By the way, he recently called a national holiday, giving workers half the day off to watch Colombia play in the quarter finals tomorrow.
5. To Honor Andrés Escobar
It was 20 years ago that gangsters took the life of defender Andrés Escobar after Colombia failed to pass the group stage in the 1994 USA World Cup. The incident chased Colombian soccer for years as a phantom (read about its impact in our special World Cup feature here). This is an opportunity to honor a beloved player and put in the attic the darkest hour in Colombian soccer.
6. Nothing to Lose
The pressure is on Brazil, the home team and favorite to lift the trophy. The Brazilians also need a good performance to calm down the criticism around the team. Colombians, in the other hand, have already done their best World Cup in history by reaching Quarterfinals for the first time. In the psychological game, Colombia will be winning when entering the field.