The roots of Colombia’s qualification for their first FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup can be traced back two years. A large number of the side that made it to Germany 2010 formed part of the team that won the U-17 South American Championship in 2008 before going on to the world finals in New Zealand later that year.
Appointed only a month before the start of the CONMEBOL U-20 Championship in March, Ricardo Rozo has already demonstrated an ability to build on the achievements of the past. Following a successful spell in charge of the Bogota women’s team, Rozo has put together a side that is compact in defence and opportunistic up front. After topping the section with maximum points ahead of Chile and Argentina, the Colombians saw off Paraguay in the semi-finals before losing 2-0 in the final to Brazil, the only side able to put more than one goal past them.
Coach Rozo is optimistic about the challenges that lie ahead for his side: “They’re a great group of girls and are technically gifted. They listen to what you say and know how to put it into practice, and they also have a lot of heart. They love the jersey deeply and with a couple of adjustments I can see them being very competitive at the World Cup.”
Facts and figures
Paula Forero (goalkeeper), Natalia Gaitan (defender), Yorely Rincon (midfielder), Paola Sanchez (forward), Tatiana Ariza (forward).
Colombia won five of their six games in the South American Championships and lost the other, scoring ten goals and conceding five in the process. Paola Sanchez was the side’s top scorer with three goals.
The numbers game
13 - The number of players in the current squad who represented Colombia at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup New Zealand 2008.