Publish date:

23 COLOMBIA

Author:

Because ...

THEY'VE GOT UNFINISHED BUSINESS

RARE IS the country that throws a full-on open-top bus parade through the capital for a World Cup quarterfinalist. But such is soccer's state in Colombia, where decades of devotion haven't been enough for Los Cafeteros to crack South America's elite. In 2014 they finally reached their first quarterfinal—beguiling fans with the scoring prowess of 22-year-old breakout star James Rodríguez—before bowing to Brazil 2--1. For the rest of the world, that violent match left a sour taste. In Colombia it whet the appetite. James is now in his prime. The team's leading marksman, Radamel Falcao, missed the '14 World Cup with an ACL tear; now he's back, and coming off a 24-goal season with AS Monaco. Want an entertaining underdog with upside? Celebrate Colombia.