This summer Colombia plays hosts to its biggest sporting tournament to date, the Under 20s Fifa World Cup. The tournament will take place from July 29th to August 20th and feature some of the finest young footballing talent from the following countries:
Colombia, France, South Korea, Mali
Portugal, Uruguay, Cameroon, New Zealand
Australia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Spain
Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Guatemala
Brazil, Egypt, Austria, Panama
Argentina, Mexico, England, North Korea
8 different cities have been chosen to hosts games. These are Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Armenia, Pereira, Manizales and Cali. The final will take place in Bogotá on the 20th of August at the Estadio Nemesio Camacho, or 'El Campin'.
The tournament will kick-off with Colombia vs France in a rematch of the final of the Toulon Tournament that took place in France recently. The two remain strong favourites for the crown and watching their progress throughout the tournament promises to be interesting.
Football in Colombia is massive and takes its place as the national sport. It’s played by over 3 million people and watched by countless more. Perhaps Colombia’s most memorable team was that of Carlos ‘El Pibe’ Valderrama and Rene Higuita from 1994’s World Cup in the USA, although Colombia won the Copa America on home soil in 2001.
It’s hoped that with the successful execution of this tournament the Colombian governing bodies will convince FIFA and the world that the country is ready for more sporting events, and purportedly Colombia is hoping to be in the running for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
I'll be rooting for England, of course, but since this is an international competition I'm kind of resigned to the fact I'll be disappointed. Still, maybe it's best they get eliminated straight away so I can focus my attention on supporting Colombia...