By 90Min
June 13, 2019

It's been 18 years since Colombia last featured in a Copa América final, but Carlos Queiroz's side can build off their success in the last tournament in 2016 where they secured a third-place finish ahead of the United States.

Here's a closer look at what fans can expect from Los Cafeteros ahead of this year's competition, which kicks off in Brazil this weekend.


Squad

Colombia have come on leaps and bounds since their iconic showing at the World Cup in 2014, although for many fans the centrepiece of their squad is understandably still James Rodríguez.

Naturally a very attacking team, manager Queiroz has helped his side become more resolute at the back - they've kept two clean sheets in their Copa América warm-up matches - and that provides a platform for Colombia's match winners to make the difference at the other end of the pitch. 

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (S.S.C. Napoli), Álvaro Montero (Deportes Tolima), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali).

Defenders: Dávinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotspur), Yerry Mina (Everton), Cristian Borja (Sporting CP), Santiago Arias (Atlético Madrid), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), William Tesillo (Club León), John Lucumí (K.R.C. Genk), Stefan Medina (C.F. Monterrey).

Midfielders: Gustavo Cuéllar (Flamengo), Mateus Uribe (Club América), Wílmar Barrios (Zenit St Petersburg), Jéfferson Lerma (A.F.C. Bournemouth), James Rodríguez (Bayern Munich), Edwin Cardona (C.F. Pachuca), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus).

Attackers: Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco), Luis Muriel (Fiorentina), Duván Zapata (Atalanta B.C.), Luis Díaz (Junior de Barranquilla), Roger Mártinez (Club América).


Manager

Guillermo Legaria/GettyImages

After an eight-year spell in charge of Iran, former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz was named as Colombia's successor to José Pékerman earlier this year.


The 66-year-old has a wealth of experience at all levels during his 28-year career and has now spent the last 11 years in international management.

Having previously had spells in the United States and Japan, Queiroz's appointment with Colombia has seen him land his most high-profile job since his time in charge of Real Madrid.

During his four matches with Los Cafeteros, Queiroz has won three and lost one - a 2-1 defeat to South Korea - with his side scoring eight goals, while also conceding just two.


Recent Form

Since being cruelly dumped out via a penalty shootout at the hands of Gareth Southgate's England at the World Cup last year, Colombia have largely bounced back and enjoyed a good spell of form.

Leonardo Fernandez/GettyImages

They've won six of their last eight matches since the competition in Russia, whilst also drawing with Argentina before their defeat to South Korea in March.

They've enjoyed impressive wins over the USMNT and Costa Rica, but Colombia have saved their best form for their two matches before Copa América, securing back-to-back 3-0 wins over Panama and Peru.


Strengths


Although Colombia are coming into the Copa América with a typically top-heavy side who are difficult to break through, Queiroz's squad selection will offer Los Cafeteros a lot of variation with their style of play.


Their established technical players like Rodríguez, Juan Cuadrado and Radamel Falcao are expected to be the focal point of their side, while Luis Muriel, Edwin Cardona and Mateus Uribe are given space to impact the match.

Jesus Pretell,Edwin Cardona

Coming off the back of an outstanding season with Atalanta, striker Duván Zapata will offer Colombia a unique option in the final third of the pitch and he's set to cause every defence in the Copa América all sorts of problems.


Their improvements at the back will help their chances this summer too, with stand out defenders including Yerry Mina, Dávinson Sánchez and Santiago Arias.


Weaknesses

One major weakness of Colombia's best players in recent years has been their ability to maintain a high level of intensity throughout a match, and they could once again show signs of fatigue if they reach the latter stages of the Copa América.

Queiroz's squad are still missing a real contender to start at left-back, so wingers could have some joy running at Cristian Borja, while neutrals might also pinpoint goalkeeper David Ospina as an area to attack for their opposition.


Group B Opponents

Marcelo Endelli/GettyImages

It will be a baptism of fire for Colombia at this year's Copa América, with their group stage campaign kicking off against Lionel Messi and Argentina. Los Cafeteros haven't beaten their South American rivals since 2007, drawing three and losing six against La Albiceleste since.


Matchday two will see Queiroz's side face one of the competition's two guest teams, Qatar. Félix Sánchez Bas's side recently won the AFC Asian Cup, beating the likes of South Korea and Japan - the other guest team in the Copa América - in the final.


Colombia's final match in Group B is against Paraguay, who have selected Premier League stars Miguel Almirón and Fabián Balbuena in their squad, at Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador.

Date Opponent Kick-Off (BST) Stadium
Saturday, June 15 Argentina vs Colombia 23:00 Fonte Nova Arena, Salvador
Wednesday, June 19 Colombia vs Qatar 22:30 Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo, São Paulo
Sunday, June 23 Colombia vs Paraguay 20:00 Fonte Nova Arena, Salvador

Route to the Final

The top two teams from each group will progress straight into the knockout stages of the Copa América, while two of the best third-ranked sides will also go through into the quarter-final stage.

Assuming that Colombia miss out on top spot to Argentina in their group, then they will face the runner-up in Group A - most likely either Peru or Venezuela, as Brazil are expected to cruise through their first three matches.

Guillermo Legaria/GettyImages

Missing out on Brazil in the first knockout match will only be a temporary blessing, however, as the Seleção are Colombia's expected opponents if they reach the semi-finals. Chile, Japan or Ecuador have an outside chance of facing Los Cafeteros too.

In the final at the Maracanã, Colombia could face either Argentine (again) or Uruguay, the two most successful sides in the history of the competition and who have won 29 Copa Américas between them since it's inception in 1916.

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