Colombia’s coach, Nestor Lorenzo, has made a surprising call-up for the first two matches of the South American World Cup qualifiers for the 2026 United States-Canada-Mexico World Cup. With the goal of overcoming the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, the emphasis seems to be on renewal in the squad.
Some new players have been included, but the biggest surprise was the exclusion of regular names who, for various reasons, did not make it onto Professor Lorenzo’s list.
Ins and Outs
In a few days, the Colombian men’s national team begins its journey to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. The call-up was for the first two matches against Venezuela and Chile.
The return of Juan Fernando Quintero and Santiago Arias to the squad is joined by new faces like Jhon Cordoba and Richard Rios. The list also includes veterans like James Rodriguez, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, and Yerry Mina.
However, usual members of the national team like David Ospina, Kevin Mier, Stefan Medina, William Tesillo, David Zapata, Luis Muriel, and Radamel Falcao are not in Lorenzo’s call-up.
The complete list of the called-up players, as published by the Colombian Football Federation, includes the following 26 players:
- Alvaro Montero – Millonarios F.C. (COL)
- Camilo Vargas – Atlas FC (MEX)
- Carlos Cuesta – KRC Genk (BEL)
- Daniel Muñoz – KRC Genk (BEL)
- Dávinson Sanchez – Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
- Deiver Machado – RC Lens (FRA)
- Devis Vasquez – Sheffield Wednesday (ENG)
- James Rodriguez – São Paulo (BRA)
- Jefferson Lerma – Crystal Palace1 (ENG)
- Jhon Arias – Fluminense (BRA)
- Jhon Cordoba – FC Krasnodar (RUS)
- Jhon Jader Duran – Aston Villa (ENG)
- Jhon Lucumi – Bologna FC (ITA)
- Johan Mojica – CA Osasuna (ESP)
- Jorge Carrascal – Dinamo Moscú (RUS)
- Juan Fernando Quintero – Racing Club (ARG)
- Juan Guillermo Cuadrado – Inter de Milán (ITA)
- Luis Diaz – Liverpool (ENG)
- Luis Sinisterra – Leeds United (ENG)
- Mateo Cassierra – Zenit FC (RUS)
- Matheus Uribe – Al-Sadd (QAT)
- Rafael Santos Borre – Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
- Richard Rios – Palmeiras (BRA)
- Santiago Arias – FC Cincinnati (USA)
- Wilmar Barrios – Zenit FC (RUS)
- Yerry Mina – ACF Fiorentina (ITA)
This call-up is for the first two rounds of the qualifiers. The two matches are:
- Colombia vs. Venezuela (September 7, Barranquilla)
- Chile vs. Colombia (September 12, Santiago)
Colombia will begin its journey towards the 2026 World Cup at home against Venezuela on Thursday, September 7. The Venezuelan national team has never qualified for a World Cup. The match will be played at the traditional Colombian venue, the Metropolitano Stadium in Barranquilla.
Colombia has an excellent record at home. Out of 49 matches played, 34 have ended in victory for the Colombian team, seven were draws, and they suffered only 8 defeats.
The changes introduced in this qualification, with 48 teams, mean there will be more spots available to secure a place in the World Cup. CONMEBOL will now have 6 direct spots plus 1 opportunity in the play-offs.