Desperate to make up for the disappointment of recent years, Colombia have promised to sacrifice their traditional adherence to the beautiful game in order to survive the Group of Death, says coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
The other teams in Group C are Argentina, USA and Paraguay.
Colombia have a reputation for being one of South America’s flair sides but following a series of national failures since their only Copa America triumph in 2001 they now promise to be more direct if needs be. “If we have to sacrifice the beauty of the game for a more direct football, we’ll do it,” warns Pinto.
Colombia kicks off its Copa campaign tonight when it faces Paraguay.Later Argentina – the tournament’s overwhelming favourites – face the USA.
Paraguay’s reputation is the polar opposite of Colombia’s, its players known as they are for their fierce tackling and all-for-one mentality which has seen them qualify for the last three World Cup finals, a remarkable achievement for a country with just one tenth the population of Colombia, who last qualified for FIFA’s showcase event in 1998.