Colombia Defeats Paraguay 2-0 In International Friendly

Photo by Luis Pabon

Fort Lauderdale –  The music was blasting and the fans were swaying to the rhythm Saturday night in Ft. Lauderdale, a fun festive atmosphere on a pleasant evening for fútbol. A predominantly Colombian crowd of 15,237 at DRV PNK Stadium saw the “Cafeteros” take the 2-0 win over Paraguay. Davinson Sanchez, and Radamel Falcao, scored the goals for Colombia.

Despite being eliminated from the World Cup, both squads had much to play for, as they rebuild with eyes on 2026. The spectators got their money’s worth in an entertaining and well-played match.

Early on Colombia took control, with a faster-than-usual pace on attack and great urgency to recover the ball on defense. This, along with its historical ball possession style had Nestor Lorenzo’s side dominating Paraguay.

Juan Fernando Quintero sent a perfect cross into the box off a set piece at the 14′ minute, which was hammered into the goal by defender Davinson Sanchez. Colombia led 1-0 and continued to control much of the first half, with Paraguay unable to find the equalizer.

Paraguay’s response in the second half was immediate, backing Colombia into their defensive side of the pitch. The white and red-striped players attempted from all sides to find the tying goal, but it was elusive.

Rafael Santos Borre received a long pass over the defense from Jhon Lucumi at the 63′ minute that led him into the Paraguay box, he then proceeded to have his shot hit the goalpost and go out off the goal line.

Beloved Colombian stars James Rodriguez in the 63′ minute and Radamel Falcao in the 75′ minute were subbed in to the loud cheers of the crowd.

Falcao paid immediate dividends, with a well-placed header into the Paraguay goal at the 76′ minute. Falcao was part of the build-up of the play, then like the natural scorer that he is, floated into the right spot in the box to score the Goooool for Colombia.

The final score, was Colombia 2, Paraguay 0.

Final Thoughts

An international friendly one day before the World Cup seemed like a losing proposition. Would the people show up? Would the players give a genuine effort to the fans and provide a good performance? What would the atmosphere be like?

I can honestly say all those questions were answered in a resoundingly positive manner. Over 15,000 fans showed up, a great turnout! The players were real professionals, playing with great intensity and effort. It does help that many are playing for a spot on their respective national teams moving forward. The atmosphere around the stadium was great! Fans were dancing, drinking adult beverages, and having a party.

Photo by Luis Pabon

The team made the best of a tough situation and got a chance to provide meaningful playing time to some rising players.  Jhon Arias, from Colombia, flashed as the best new addition for either team. The talented winger had a wonderful performance, giving himself an opportunity to become a fixture on the squad.

Colombia surprised me with their intensity, pace, purpose on the attack, and aggressiveness on defense. Historically, Los “Cafeteros” are a ball possession team that threads together many horizontal passes before launching forward. In this match, the team’s sequence of passes was faster and much more vertical for longer periods of time in the game. On defense, Colombia tends to create a line of contention and sits back waiting to counter on the opponent’s error. Against Paraguay, Colombia aggressively pressured every ball, quickly recovering possession and launching an attack. I must say that I enjoyed this style of play.

At the press conference, I asked Coach Nestor Lorenzo about this aggressive and fast-paced playing style, and whether it would be the norm moving forward for the team. The Coach basically said that since it was a friendly match that allowed a large number of substitutions,  the players were able to maintain an intensity that they might not have in an official match. Regardless, I hope the aggressiveness on attack and while defending becomes a staple for Colombia.

One night before the World Cup opening match, Colombia and Paraguay brought a little South American flair and party to Ft. Lauderdale, and the fans had a wonderful time.

Photo by Luis Pabon

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