The road to Canada
It was certainly a 2014 Copa America Femenina to remember for Colombia, who stormed through their group by claiming four wins from four games. And though draws in the final phase against Argentina and Brazil meant that had to content themselves with a runners-up finish for the second Copa in a row, Las Cafeteras can be proud of a tournament in which they were the only unbeaten side and, spanning both phases, picked up 17 points from seven games. This tally was one more than eventual winners Brazil, though A Seleção would take the title thanks to their superior record in the decisive final stage.
Strengths and style
Attacking midfielder Yoreli Rincon reinforced her status as Las Cafeteras’ footballing spearhead at the Copa America, the gifted creator pulling her team’s strings with aplomb – as she has done for some time now – and finishing as Colombia’s three-goal leading scorer.
Already boasting a wealth of experience despite still being only 21, Rincon’s subsequent selection as player of the tournament was no doubt helped by the solid structure put in place alongside her, with keeper Sandra Sepulveda, defenders Katherin Arias and Natalia Gaitan, midfielder Diana Ospina and forward Lady Andrade particularly outstanding. All of these players will be expected to take a leading role for a country that has already taken part in one FIFA Women’s World Cup™, back at Germany 2011.
Colombia’s collective strength is drawn from both a resilient backline and a varied attack, Las Cafeteras finishing the Copa America with the competition’s best defensive record (two goals conceded) and their 12 goals scored shared between no fewer than eight different players. And in the only two games they failed to find the net, Colombia also avoided conceding.
First hired by the Colombian FA in February 2012 to coach the women’s U-17 squad, 36-year-old coach Felipe Taborda is now preparing for the biggest challenge of his career so far. After guiding his young charges to a place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups in Azerbaijan 2012 and Costa Rica 2014, this Physical Education graduate and teacher was handed the senior national team job in July 2014, just a couple of months prior to the Copa America. Not only did his team secure passage to Canada 2015, they also sealed the only available ticket for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio de Janeiro 2016.
FIFA Women’s World Cup record
- This will be Colombia’s second appearance at a senior Women’s World Cup
- At Germany 2011, Las Cafeteras failed to reach the knockout stages after finishing bottom of their group
What they said
“It’s a whole other level – a World Cup is the ultimate. It’s going to be a very difficult competition and we’ll need to prepare ten times more than we did for the Copa America. We need to make absolutely sure we get there in tip-top condition because women’s football is improving fast and we can’t leave anything to chance,” Tatiana Ariza, Colombia forward