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Colombia National Soccer Team: Is the Golden Generation of the Country Coming to an End?

The complications to reach Qatar 2022 would show that the Colombian National Soccer Team could be close to the end of the "golden generation". A missed opportunity?

The complications to reach Qatar 2022 would show that the Colombian National Soccer Team could be close to the end of the "golden generation". A missed opportunity?

Colombian National Soccer Team players

Photo: FCF.com

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

The task of the Colombian National Soccer Team is quite complicated for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. After losing at home against Ricardo Gareca's Peru, those led by Reinaldo Rueda They have a complicated pass to the World Cup.

In case you did not know, the Colombian National Team just reached 7 games without scoring a goal in the current qualifiers heading to Qatar 2022. In addition, they have not scored against Argentina in 25 years. All this implies a challenge, but also a reflection on the relevance of this team.

Mainly, because, with 2 games to go, Colombia is seventh within the classification table. Consequently, so far he is staying out of the next World Cup event. If this were to happen, could we say that it is the end of Colombia's golden generation?

The end of Colombia's golden generation

José Néstor Pekerman marked a before and after in Colombia. Currently in Venezuela, the Argentine technical director arrived in the coffee country on January 5, 2012. At that time, the team did not have a good level and its qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was in danger.

Well, since the arrival of this strategist, it was possible to generate a clear idea of ​​the game and the positioning of a group of soccer players that would mark an era. We are talking about players like David Ospina, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, James Rodríguez and Falcao, among others.

Pekerman's career was marked by regularity. During the time he was in charge of the national team, between 2012 and 2018, Colombia knew how to compete at a high level in different tournaments. For example, he did it in the 2014 World Cup, the 2015, 2016 Copa América and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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The problem was that, despite its competitiveness, Colombia always lacked a "plus" to reach a final. The closest they came was at the 2016 Copa América Centenario, when they were beaten by Chile by a score of 2–0 in the semifinals. Although they took third place after beating the United States, there was always the feeling that something more could have been done.

This feeling is explained by something simple: Colombia's great breed of players, categorized as a "golden generation" by many fans. That is to say, it has been decades since a squad full of Colombians who had been stars in several teams in Europe had been seen.

However, time has passed and this litter will hardly have another World Cup opportunity if they do not get the ticket to Qatar. Take as an example the current call for Qualifiers 2022:

  • David Ospina. The goalkeeper enjoys a good present at Napoli, but he is 33 years old. For the 2026 World Cup he would arrive at 37 years old, which is a high age, even for his position.
  • James Rodriguez. For a long time, the “world” figure of Colombia. Although he is 30 years old (he would reach 2026 at the age of 34), he is currently at Qatar's Al-Rayyan. Consequently, it seems that his intention is not to return to the top-level leagues.
  • Juan Guillermo Cuadrado. Although he is at Juventus, one of the most powerful teams in Italy, at 33 years old, he hardly has much time left at the top level. He will also arrive in 2026 with a very high age.
  • Falcao. Currently at Rayo Vallecano, he is going through an excellent present. However, at 35 years old, by 2026 he would arrive at 39. Therefore, this will surely be his last World Cup opportunity.

Other important soccer players must also be highlighted, such as Frank Fabra (30 years old), Edwin Cardona (29 years old), Luis Muriel (30 years old) and Duván Zapata (30 years old). It is presumed that all of them will not reach their best soccer moment again, despite the talent they have. Therefore, the picture does not seem to be so encouraging.

Now, what happens to the next generations of players? Well, the problem is that they don't seem to have the same relevance that this litter has achieved at a young age. For example, in the recent call, only a few players under the age of 25 have been mentioned.

Among them, Luis Díaz (25 years old), Luis Suárez (24 years old), Steven Alzate (23 years old), Yaser Asprilla (18 years old), Davinson Sánchez (25 years old) and Daniel Muñoz (25 years old). Except for Luis Díaz, none of the others seems to represent something similar to what James Rodríguez, Falcao or Cuadrado meant at the time, for example.

In short, the golden generation of Colombia seems to play its last cards in these Qatar 2022 Qualifiers. It will be necessary to see if they get a ticket, but it is clear that there will be a natural renewal. Positive or not, it will undoubtedly be a change of era for all those who enjoyed this group of players.