Heat, drizzle and leafy boulevards are all signs that the French summer is upon us. And the recent dry spell that has marked this seasonal shift mirrors the goal drought from which the French and Colombian football teams have recently suffered. Colombia, who failed to make it to the Asian finals last year, hold the unenviable record of not having scored a goal since May 2002. And the defending champions have fared little better in official FIFA competitions. They have failed to hit the back of the net since the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan2001.
540 minutes and no goals
In the second half of a friendly against Mexico in the Aztec stadium, Colombia’s Oscar Restrepo accepted a pass from Malher Moreno before beating Oscar Pérez to level the game. Though Mexico went on to win the match, not even the most pessimistic Colombian fan could have predicted that their team would not score again in 13 months and 540 minutes of action.
“Colombia play good football, they’re always looking to go forward. But unfortunately we haven’t been hitting the net of late,” Gerardo Bedoya explained to FIFA.com. And, of course, his comments hit the nail on the head. After the Mexican defeat, Colombia’s last five matches have ended in a 1-0 loss to Honduras and goalless draws with Mexico, Korea Republic, Honduras and Ecuador.
In a bid to stop the goal rot, Francisco Maturana has now turned to Víctor Hugo Aristizábal. The 31-year-old is regarded as something of a goal machine and featured strongly in Cruzeiro de Belo Horizonte’s victorious Brazilian Cup run.
B>270 minutes and no goals
France’s lack of cutting edge up front is not exactly a recent phenomenon. But if you only include official FIFA tournaments, the last time the Blues scored was when they won the Confederations Cup in Asia on 10 June 2001. Two years, equating to 270 minutes of play, have gone by since Patrick Vieira scored the winner in Japan.
Outside official FIFA competitions, though, Jacques Santini’s team have been prolific, scoring an impressive 28 goals in their last nine matches (an average of more than 3 goals per match).
Thierry Henry, Djibril Cisse and Sylvain Wiltord appear to be the most likely players to put an end to France’s dismal run in FIFA competitions. But they are unlikely to have an easy time of it as Colombia boast a strong defensive record. They may not be able to score but they have managed to keep the opposition out in their last four matches.
Something will have to give when Colombia take on France on 18 June.