September 5th – Colombia’s Favorite Date

In two days, on September 5th, Colombia will mention the 24th anniversary of their greatest victory ever – the famous 5-0 over Argentina in Buenos Aires. In the same day, Colombia will also host Brazil to a crucial game in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, a game which can also put them very close to Russia. Will this date works twice for Colombia?

 

For the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, nine teams were divided into two groups, due to Chile’s suspension. Colombia was in the same group with Argentina, Paraguay and Peru. While the other group contained five teams, two of them qualified directly to the World Cup which took place in the United States. In Colombia’s group, the group winner will travel to the World Cup while the second will face Oceania winner, in these days it was Australia.

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El Grafico with the headline: “Shame”

Argentina was of course the favorite to win the group. Few months earlier, the ‘albiceleste’ without Diego Maradona who retired, won the Copa America 1993 in Ecuador, their last Int’l trophy so far. With players like Redondo, Batistuta, Simeone, Goycochea and the captain Ruggeri, Argentina shouldn’t be in much trouble to qualify. Althoughn the met Colombia twice during that Copa America and both games ended with a draw, no one really believed that Colombia can qualify on Argentina’s expense. But the first alarm came on August 15th, when Colombia host Argentina in Barranquilla. The ‘albiceleste’ came with 33 games without loss, but when they met Valderrama, Valencia and Rincon infront of their home crowd, there was nothing they could do. Colombia won 2-1 when Valenciano and Valencia scored the goals.

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The team who made history in Buenos Aires

Still, everyone thought that Argentina will revenge in Buenos Aires or even qualify a bit earlier. But an unexpected 0-0 draw at home vs. Paraguay put Argentina in a very dangerous situation: Now they must win Colombia at home in order to qualify directly. Despite the loss in Barranquilla, despite the disappointment vs. Paraguay, still the Argentines continue to belive in their players. Maradona, a person who usually say everything he think of, talked with the press and said that Argentina is going to win because they are simply a better and superior team than Colombia. The problem was that a draw wouldn’t be enough.

 

Argentina started very well, pressed the Colombian players and try to score an early goal in order to relax, but the Colombians stood tactically very well. Nerves played a big part in this match like in this mini fight between Valderrama and Simeone. Just before the half time, on 41th  minute, a brilliant pass by Valderrama found Rincon in a 1-on-1 situation which he managed to score. 1-0 Colombia and the fans at the Monumental stadiun were in shock. Now Argentina must score twice in order to qualify. But nothing prepared them for the second half, maybe their worst ever…

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“This is how you play football”, the headlines in the Argentine media

five minutes from the beginnnig, the Argentine fans understood that they will have to meet Australia. A long ball from Rincon found Asprilla in the box and “El Tino” made it 2-0. The fans started to chant Maradona’s name and didn’t really believe that they can score three goals against the Colombian organized defense. Argentina tried to attack from all angles, but Oscar Cordoba was at his best to prevent any dangerous shot. 15 minutes from time, everything collapsed for Argentina. Asprilla abused the defense and a crossed ball from Alvarez found Rincon who made it 3-0. While everyone is still in shock, one minute later Asprilla stole the ball from Borelli and scored the most beatiful goal in the game. The scoreboard: ARGENTINA – 0  COLOMBIA – 4. The fans stopped cheering their idols. On the contrary, they started booing them. Colombia did everything on the field, including 24 passes in a row, while Argentina’s players run in circles. In the 85th minute Adolfo Valencia scored the last goal to humiliate Argentina – 5-0 at the end.

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Celebrating Asprilla’s golazo

It was thonly time the 80,000 fans of Argentina gave a standing ovation for the rival and Colombia deserved it from an amazing football performance, one of the best I personally ever saw. This victory put Colombia as the best South American team and one of the main candidates to win the cup in 1994. Unfortunately it was a huge disappointment with many problems at home but most important, one dead player which put the football in a prespective. But no one will ever erase this particular night at the Monumental stadium on September 5th 1993, where the fans and I among them, felt something that was simply magical.

 

Now it’s the same date, but the game will be at home and the rival will be Brazil. Colombia comes after a disappointed 0-0 draw in Venezuela while Brazil is already in Russia. A win will secure at least the playoff for Colombia. James Rodriguez who didn’t play vs. Venezuela is supposed to play in this match and Falcao is looking to score his first goal in these qualifiers. Will this date make another magic for Colombia? This time even a small 1-0 will do…VAMOS COLOMBIA!

 

All the goals from the game in Buenos Aires (Colombian commentary)

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