Wilson Cuero likes video games, is not especially keen on being interviewed and is poised to travel to Italy to start an exciting new phase in his fledgling career with Udinese. In contrast, Deportivo Cali forward Fabian Castillo prefers to listen to music, is far more at ease in front of the microphone and sees a move to Europe as a goal for the future.
Yet despite their differences, Cuero and Castillo together form a deadly double act that has helped propel Colombia towards a tantalising round-of-16 tie against Argentina on Wednesday. And as FIFA.com discovers in an exclusive interview, the Cafetero twosome have built up quite an understanding away from the pitch as well. "Wilson is a fantastic player but he's also a great team-mate too. I know he's going to go far," says Castillo in appreciation of his strike partner. "Fabian is a fun guy to be around, just like any Colombian. You need people like him on the pitch," responds Cuero, repaying the complement.
The two have been keeping each other entertained at Colombia's base camp, the Gateway Hotel in the city of Ijebu-Ode, sharing jokes and playing video games together, welcome relief from the task of leading the Colombian front line, one they have been performing pretty well so far. "We always talk to each other during games and we're always looking to see what we can do to get the better of opposing defences," says Cuero, explaining the secret of their success.
The kindred spirits showed the depth of their on-pitch understanding when Cuero set up Castillo for the opening goal against Netherlands in their first outing. And although the Udinese-bound youngster has yet to open his tournament account, he senses his luck could be about to change. "I came to the World Cup to score goals and to be honest I'm a little disappointed I haven't done that yet. That's what you live for as a striker, though I'm hoping to end the run against Argentina."
Absent but not forgotten
Wednesday's game provides Cuero and his team-mates with the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the Colombians' star player, Edwin Cardona, who was forced to sit out the tournament after picking up a shoulder injury days before the big kick-off.
For Castillo, who hopes to complete his school studies and go on to study dentistry, the loss of the Atletico Nacional player is a blow they are determined to overcome: "He was the soul of the team but we can still fight without him." Those sentiments are shared by Cuero, who has been keeping in touch with the unlucky Cardona by email: "He's obviously sad about what happened but he's happy at how well we are doing. We miss him a lot."
In fact, Cuero and Castillo think so highly of their missing team-mate they are planning to dedicate a goal to him in the game against the Argentinians, details of which the duo are understandably reluctant to reveal just yet.
Tributes aside, Ramiro Viafara's team will need to be at their very best to see off such formidable opposition. With Daniel Villalva and Sergio Araujo in their ranks, La Albiceleste possess a forward line capable of causing problems for any defence, as the Cafetero duo are well aware. Even so, Cuero and Castillo believe they have the firepower to outgun their fellow South Americans. "We can beat them," they vow in unison. "We want to be the champions and dedicate it to the whole of Colombia."