After their impressive performance, the Colombia national team returned home to a heroes welcome, despite their 2-1 loss to host Brazil this past Saturday. Even though the match was surrounded by controversy, and the team’s campaign ended with a negative episode when defender Juan Zuniga kneed Brazilian star Neymar, ending his World Cup run, thousands came out to welcome their boys home.
The Colombia national team brought us everyone’s new favorite striker, James Rodriguez, who, despite not playing any longer, is the top scorer at the World Cup with six goals. The 22-year-old put on quite the display, looking cool, calm and collected against some of the best teams in the world.
But James ended up winning many millions of hearts during the elimination match against Brazil, when after a hard battle, the Colombia national team simply could not overcome the deficit. James couldn’t help himself and was seen openly weeping.
In a show of unusual sportsmanship, several Brazilian players came over to console James, acknowledging they were in the presence of a future superstar. The images were an instant hit online and made James an even more sympathetic player.
Despite the black mark left by Juan Zuniga’s charge on Neymar, the Colombia national team was received back home with loud cheers. A sea of yellow, red, and blue was seen as the streets of the capital, Bogota, were packed with hundreds of thousands of adoring fans.
But even in their wildest dreams, the Colombian national team did not imagine a welcome such as the one they received on Sunday, a day after the heartbreaking loss against Brazil. James couldn’t help himself and followed the latest trend, taking a selfie against the backdrop of thousands clamoring his name.
Gracias a todos, me siento muy orgulloso de ser COLOMBIANO. pic.twitter.com/yMr3Xq25Ul
— James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) July 6, 2014
The Colombia national team reached the quarterfinals for the first time in their history, and this alone made them heroes in a country where football is the national pastime. The best performance for Colombia — prior to 2014 — was in the 1990 World Cup when they reached the round of 16.
— Alejandra (@Alejand71628769) July 6, 2014
James Rodriguez and company have single-handedly erased a decade’s worth of absence at the World Cup. The Colombia national team’s last World Cup appearance was in 1998 when they ended up in 21st place. This is one of the most solid, tactically sound Colombian national teams ever, and who could forget that celebratory dance.
[Image via Twitter]