The stats show why Colombia's national soccer team is struggling

With a couple of devastating losses in the World Cup Classifiers, the coffee country’s hopes for Qatar are grim.

Players from the Colombian and Ecuadorian national teams during a game.

After the results of the last few matches, the future in the World Cup in Qatar looks bleak for the coffee-growing country / Photo: FCF.com.co

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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The last two games of Colombia’s national football team have been terrible, with a score of 3-0 against Uruguay and 6-1 against Ecuador, the pride and joy of the country has looked confused, defeated and weak on the court. The stars of the team, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, have failed to show up both offensively and defensively, with only the one goal from Rodriguez resulting from a penalty in the first half against Ecuador.

Many have cited the technical direction of the team and the referees, as well as a lack of "spirit" of the players as the reasons for their defeat. However, we have decided to take a much more analytical approach, to see if we can deduce the reasons for these poor showings. Let's look at the stats. 

The Uruguay match was a strange one, because, by all accounts, we should’ve seen a better offensive showing by Colombia. The losing team had 63% possession of the ball compared to Uruguay’s 37% and a total of 11 shots to 6, almost double that of Uruguay. They even had more solid team play with 396 passes completed compared to 218 by Uruguay and a pass success rate of 81% to their rival’s 72% according to Football Critic. 

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However, the defensive stats show why Colombia lost. Uruguay had 31 clearances, 23 more than Colombia, and made 14 interceptions compared to Colombia’s 6. The Uruguayan team simply had a more solid defense. 


The stats against Ecuador are much more even despite the 6-1 score. Colombia had 47% possession compared to Ecuador’s 53 percent, but in almost all metrics the Ecuadorians had a slight advantage. However, one stat that stands out is the number of on-target shots of both countries. Ecuador had 9 on target shots and 4 off-target ones. Meanwhile, Colombia had only 2 on-target shots and 4 off target. This shows not only the offensive prowess of the Ecuadorians but also the lack of defense by the Colombians. 

Perhaps the most telling stats however is the lack of blocked shots by the coffee country team. In both outings, out of 20 of their rival's total shots, they have only blocked 2, according to stats from Football Critic. 

Thus, we can conclude that Colombia is in dire need to improve their defense if they want to stand a chance to get to Qatar in 2022. As of right now, the team is in 7th place with only four points to their name. However, there are still some matches to be played. Can they make it?

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