Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.

One Goal Can Spark A Revolution

 Posted by on October 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm  Blogs/Media
Oct 142013

3d887ff224152b9eaa51fb0aefda5cee 300x199 One Goal Can Spark A Revolution

World Cup Qualifying can bring out the best and worst in football. Because of the dynamics of playing within one’s continent the sharks and minnows are more present than ever. The critics are right: rarely do we get a match where the teams are even, where the millionaires of the sport care enough to work for ninety minutes and give their all. For those who were able to be in the park in Colombia or watch the match from their homes, be it on the computer or beINSPORT, the fans of the international game got their money’s worth with Colombia v Chile on Friday night.

Colombia came into the match with everything working in their favor. A home match in Barranquilla, a place which South American expert Tim Vickery stated on the World Phone In is a place where, “it is so hot that it is even sweltering in the shade with a fruit drink” provided Colombia the spot where their ravenous fans can show their passion. The job seemed simple: get a point and they are in the World Cup for the first time since 1998. It has been a long time since the 1994 World Cup, the golden generation of Colombian where expectations were to win the win World Cup.

I do not necessarily believe in curses, but I do believe that Colombia has needed a change in philosophy since their teams from the 1990s. Players like Radamel Falcao, the striker from AS Monaco striker, and Forward Jackson Martinez, who plays for Porto in Portugal, have shook up the foundation of Colombian soccer and brought the team back to relevance in South American and international soccer. Friday’s match showed how far they have come as they came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie Chile to claim a spot for Brazil.

Losing a player as prestigious as Andres Escobar in such an unfathomable situation will do that to a team and culture within a country. Football is a large part of the reason why Colombia has been embroiled in civil conflict since the 1980’s. Drugs are also another factor. But things are improving. According to the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures economic and social development in developing countries, Colombia has seen a marked improvement in health, education, and income. The football team has also improved, defeating Uruguay 4-0 at home and drawing 0-0 with Argentina in Buenos Aires during World Cup Qualifying.

Chile is no pushover though and showed it. Chilean manager Jorge Sampaoli has played an aggressive style of attack that showed the team going to the round 16 in the 2010 World Cup and on the cusp of the World Cup. Within 15 minutes of the first half, Chile had already gone up 3-0 on a pair of goals by F.C. Barcelona midfielder Alexis Sanchez and a penalty by Arturo Vidal, who plays for Juventus.

For the first 40 minutes, Chile was owning Colombia on all aspects of the game. They were strangling all Colombian attacks in the midfield by playing a tight marking system. Their defense, which has been suspect all during qualifying, was giving a serviceable effort. And of course Chile was doing what Chile does best: pushing the ball to the outside so that they can spread the field for long crosses into their dynamic attacking options. This plan of attack worked for most of the match, but by the end of the second half you could see that Colombia had some glimmer of hope in them.

One of the funny things about soccer is how quickly tempo and confidence can change. We may not be able to quantify it, but it can change with just one simple moment. That happened in the 58th minute when Chilean midfielder Carlos Carmona was ejected from the match for an incredibly reckless challenge. Although he is a young player, such ignorant fouls like the one that he put on should be avoided at all costs. Colombia is not a minnow and giving them an opportunity to have some leverage, even with a deficit of 3-0 going against them, is a costly and foolish decision.

With a man up, Colombia began to show people what they can with some advantage and a bit of life. With a few minutes of the sending off, Forward Jaime Guitierrez scored off of a rebound to give the team some life. Though Colombia’s goal came off of an extremely questionable call, what matters is that Falacao buried the shot in the lower left corner to climb within one. With that goal and the improved play, the roar that the crowd in Barranquila had shown at the beginning of the first half was back. It sounded like 15 years of frustration coming out in one loud rush of emotion. There was joy in the crowd, like people could finally celebrate. As the great Ray Hudson during the match, “What was once a graveyard is now Studio 54.”

After the second goal, Chile looked shocked. They could barely muster a defensive against Falcao’s diving header that went wide in the 77th minute. You would thought that the roles were reversed and that Chile was the team vying for their first World Cup in a generation and Colombia were the seasoned vets. Chile’s poise and confidence was done and another goal for Colombia seemed inevitable.
Clutch goals come from either moments of brilliance or defensive lapses. Colombia’s tying goal came from both. In the 82nd minute, Colombian striker Jaimes Rodriguez took a sprinting cross into the box and was taken down on a very late challenge by the Chilean goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo. Goalkeepers always take a risk by taking out a forward, but with an advantage in the box, he made an incredibly poor choices. Falcao finished the penalty shot and tied Colombian legend Faustino Asprilla for third all-time in goals for Colombia. He also cemented Colombia’s spot in the 2014 World Cup.

Although football fans are often inundated with meaningless matches and uneven World Cup Qualifying matches, Friday’s match between Chile and Colombia proved that there are exceptions to the rule. For a country that has been mired in a football depression for fifteen years, and suffered enough internal strife and terror for a lifetime, it was good to see one of South America’s football powers back to prominence.

Sean Maslin

Writer for Global Football Today and Blatter's Blotter. Lifetime D.C. United, Newcastle United, and Washington Warthog fan. Can be reached at @SeanMaslin on twitter or at

 Leave a Reply



Refresh Image


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>