Colombia contested their first futsal international less than a decade ago. Back in August 2003, Los Cafeteros beat Bolivia 5-2 at the Copa America, a perfect start to their adventure at the continental showdown. However, in the wake of a narrow 5-3 defeat to Brazil, the team failed to survive the preliminary stage. At the tournament four years ago, the Colombians defeated Venezuela and Ecuador on their way to finishing fifth. They recorded their best position to date last year, emerging from the group stage undefeated but losing out 5-0 to Argentina in the semi-finals. Their hopes of third place were also dashed in a 3-1 defeat to Paraguay.
Colombia rate as a fast-emerging futsal power in South America. Coach Arney Fonnegra’s team have made enormous strides in recent years, so that their debut appearance at the FIFA Futsal World Cup no longer comes as any real surprise. Los Cafeteros confirmed that their excellent showing at the Copa America 2011 was no flash in the pan, dispensing with big-name opposition in the shape of Paraguay and Uruguay in the preliminary stage of South American qualifying.
Keeper Juan Lozano and defender Miguel Sierra rate as seasoned veterans of the game, and leading figures in the tactical plan favoured by coach Fonnegra. By contrast, Angellot Caro is a promising young player whose goals in qualifying indicate real hope for the future. Five goals in six matches made Caro his team's top scorer. “We finished ahead of Uruguay, a team which has already been to the World Cup three times and have a few players based in Europe. The key to success was our discipline, desire and courage," Caro stated.
Facts and figures
Juan Lozano, Miguel Sierra, Angellot Caro
Qualifying in numbers
Colombia defeated Uruguay (3-1), Paraguay (7-2) and Ecuador (5-0) to finish top of Group B in the South American qualifying tournament, reaching the semi-finals and booking their ticket to Thailand in the process. The Cafeteros narrowly lost to Argentina in the last four by the only goal of the game, but were more comprehensively beaten by Brazil in the third-place play-off, where the score was 5-1.
25.09 - the average age of the Columbia team in qualifying for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012. Keeper Lozano was the oldest man on the team at 29, while 20-year-old Yefri Duque was the youngest.