South Americans in general are crazy about football, but Colombians are especially excitable when it comes to their national football team—more so now that they are going to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Colombia qualified for the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cup series, but has not qualified since they lost against England, Tunisia, and Romania in 19981…until now and the whole country is experiencing “World Cup Fever.”
During the 2014 World Cup qualifying games, the entire country of Colombia turned yellow when the national team played—everywhere you went on the day of the game, you were confronted with yellow seas of people (Colombia’s flag is yellow, red, and blue and their national football team uses these same colors in their jerseys with the most traditional jersey being mostly yellow with dark blue stripes). You would also see Colombian flags flying on balconies, in stores, on cars, in malls, etc…, people decked out with bracelets, headbands, and hats sporting Colombian flags or national colors. Anywhere where there was a TV or radio, the game would be on. The entire country seemed to stop while the national team played, and when they won the entire country would erupt in emotion—it’s a beautiful way to bring together so many people, and I have no doubt that during the World Cup games the yellow passion will be even stronger and more evident.
Since the team officially qualified for the World Cup, the support for the Colombian national team has intensified dramatically. Almost every other commercial has something to do with supporting the team, every store has some kind of poster or product that supports patriotism through football, and there is even a soap opera that has been running called “La Selección” focusing on the Colombian football teams that qualified in World Cup series between 1987 and 1994 as well as on the famous players who have become idolized for their performances with these teams3.
Many Colombians feel very positive about their team and have high expectations, even with the recent setback with one of the team’s favorites, Radamel Falcao who was officially taken off the national team due to a recent injury that did not heal in time to play in the 2014 World Cup. The new favorite is James Rodriguez, who some have started calling “the new Pibe” due to his success in reference to the national Colombian football hero, Carlos Valderrama or “el Pibe.”
Today is Colombia’s first game in this round of the World Cup, and everyone here is itching with excitement and preparation. Colombian time, the game will start at 11am, and it will be presented by the Colombian channel Caracol, should you want to watch it in Colombia.
Win or lose, one thing is certain: the Colombian national football team has brought together in an incredible way an entire country of fanatical, excited, and anxious people who will be supporting them and cheering them on with intense passion in the upcoming weeks.
¡Let’s go Colombia!
Paige M Poole.