Pele had described them as the tournament favorite just before the World Cup of USA 1994 had just started, With the climatic conditions and most importantly the demolition of Argentina in Buenos Aires (Colombia humiliated Argentina 5-0) the hopes were sky high that they could acheive something unique…. worth mentioning are the vision and creation of Valderama (aka. El Pibe), the goalkeeping skills of Rene Higuita, the dribbling and technique of Freddy Rincon and the legendary Faustino Asprilla together with the leadership of Escobar from the back..
Escobar, the centre back was also looking forward to sign a new contract with AC Milan right after the world cup. His dream ended up in shatters as Escobar was killed by the drug cartels after he committed the own goal against the US. No person in Colombia will ever forget this atrocity that took place.
In the 1990s, Colombia were passing through the worst period of the nation’s history until the US helped them take out Escobar and other drug cartel gang leaders. Murders on the streets of Colombia were the highest rate in the world at that time and when the government declared war against the drug cartels, Colombia witnessed the worst period since independence in terms of murders and crimes. All of a sudden, without drug money, Colombia stopped producing players and no club could retain their best players.
Today, Colombia is booming… the city is still licking some of it’s wounds from that dark period of the 1990s, but at least they have a national team that represents the diversity and the unity of a Colombian nation. They would have done with a fit Falcao, but in James Rodriguez they have the world’s most in form player who could produce magic anytime during the game. The Brazilians stand in their way and they will not be looking to bow out of a tournament which they have won a record six times. A loss for Brazil today, would guarantee a country in mourning for the next six months. But Colombia are more than capable of doing that…