FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Colombia’s maiden FIFA World Cup™ appearance was at Chile 1962, but it was not until the 1990s that they truly made their mark on the international stage. A golden generation spearheaded by Carlos Valderrama qualified for three consecutive finals: Italy 1990, USA 1994 and France 1998, although they only progressed beyond the group stage at the former. It was another 16 years before Colombia graced the tournament again, going further than ever before by reaching the quarter-finals at Brazil 2014. Colombia finished fourth in the CONMEBOL standings for Russia 2018 qualifying after reaching the tournament on the final matchday with a 1-1 draw in Peru.

The team
James Rodriguez is the figurehead of a side filled with young, talented players who ply their trade in some of the world’s biggest leagues. Under the guidance of coach Jose Pekerman, Colombia have become a compact and balanced outfit that attack as a team but are also solid at the back. Following their outstanding efforts at Brazil 2014, Colombia are one of the favourites to reach Russia 2018.

The coach
Pekerman is credited with playing a lead role in reinvigorating the Colombian national team. The Argentinian has been in charge since the start of 2012 and not only took them back to the World Cup after a lengthy absence, but helped them rediscover the identity and playing style that made them famous. Pekerman also enjoyed success on the touchline with Argentina, both at youth level and with the senior side, whom he guided to the quarter-finals at Germany 2006.

The stat
– The number of World Cups Colombia have reached so far, putting them fifth in South America’s all-time appearance list behind Brazil (20), Argentina (16), Uruguay (12) and Paraguay (eight).

The former stars
Willington Ortiz, Arnoldo Iguaran, Rene Higuita, Andres Escobar, Carlos Valderrama, Leonel Alvarez, Victor Hugo Aristizabal, Freddy Rincon, Oscar Cordoba, Adolfo Valencia, Mauricio Serna, Faustino Asprilla, Faryd Mondragon