Colombia put on a dazzling performance at the Women’s World Cup in Australia, reaching the quarterfinals as the lowest-ranked team - but the one that played the best football, according to its own coach Nelson Abadia.
Despite its fairytale run coming to an end on Saturday with a 2-1 loss to England, Las Cafeteras - The Coffee Growers - stood out for their fearless character and innate confidence.
The South American side was also a breath of fresh air in a tournament usually dominated by heavyweights such as two-time champions Germany, whom it beat 2-1 in the group stage.
Inspired by the natural flair of 18-year-old Real Madrid forward Linda Caicedo, world number 25 Colombia became the last nation from the Americas still standing in the tournament.
While it may have left the stage in Australia, it has not one but two big tournaments to look forward to next year: the CONCACAF Gold Cup in February and March, and the Summer Olympics in Paris.
“This is a team with skill, class and hierarchy, one that was not afraid to face any opponent,” Colombia coach Abadia told reporters after Saturday’s game.
“Colombia showed the best football of the World Cup, they showed virtuosity.”
As well as Germany, Colombia also defeated South Korea 2-0, and despite losing 1-0 to Morocco, they allowed themselves to dream of a bigger prize by topping Group H to reach the Round of 16, where they edged Jamaica 1-0.
Last year’s Copa America runner-up showed its character even before the tournament when it defended its style of play in a warmup against Ireland, called off after the Europeans claimed the match had become “excessively physical.”
Beyond the pitch, the World Cup will miss the unparalleled atmosphere that thousands of Colombians carried in the stands, one that the Colombian boss said played a vital role in the team’s impressive run in Australia.
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