Orphan from the exit of José Pékerman After the World Cup in Russia, the Colombian team has decided to entrust itself to the experienced Carlos Queiroz only four months away from the Copa América. The Colombian Football Federation presented on Thursday the 65-year-old Portuguese coach –all a globetrotter who has gone through the benches of Portugal, Manchester United, Real Madrid or, more recently, the Iran of the Ayatollahs– as the one chosen to empower a team that has grown hand in hand with James Rodriguez Y Falcao garcia. "The mission I have is to improve in all fields, we will be demanding, we will take care of what is done," he said during the presentation.
The hiring of Queiroz (Mozambique, 1953) was an open secret for weeks, but the South American managers were waiting for him to conclude his tie with Iran, which ended its participation in the Asian Cup a week ago by falling in the semifinals with Japan. , to seal the agreement. For now, the strategist's first challenge will be the Copa America of Brazil, from June 14 to July 7, in which the coffee growers share group B with Argentina, Paraguay and Qatar -one of the invited teams-. The "era Queiroz" will formally begin on March 22, when Colombia plays a friendly match with Japan at the Nissan stadium in Yokohama.
The relay of Pékerman will train Colombia during the qualification phase for the Qatar World Cup in 2022. The Portuguese coach picks up the baton with the aim of standing out in Brazil and reach the maximum appointment without hurry, leading a selection that comes to fall in penalties before England in the eighth of end in Russia. Queiroz is the chosen one to recover the luster with which Colombia surprised the world by reaching the quarterfinals precisely in Brazil 2014, with James as an unexpected scorer, and adding defensive reliability to the traditional touch football style of the tricolor. The coach has confirmed on Thursday ten Colombian as the axis of its strategy. "Around James the team will be armed."
Queiroz, like Pekerman with Argentina, catapulted his career by winning two youth world titles in front of Portugal. He was the coach who joined Figo, Rui Costa and company in the unforgettable U20 sub-national team of 1991. However, his first stage with the absolute team of Portugal heading to the United States 94 was calamitous. After leading the United Arab Emirates (1998-1999) and South Africa (2000-2002), his pilgrimage took him to Old Trafford as an assistant to Sir Alex Fergusson. After an ephemeral step as coach of Real Madrid (2003-2004) he returned to Manchester. Fergusson came to consider him his successor as manager of the Red Devils, but Queiroz left again when the Portuguese federation chose him again to replace the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari -other cards that Colombia shuffled- to South Africa 2010. In the African World Cup, the Lusos fell in the second round against Spain, eventually champion.
In the last eight years, while the "It was Pékerman"He led Colombia to its best World Cup participations, Queiroz commanded an Iran that also qualified for those appointments, but fell in both cases in the group stage. The Portuguese has directed stars such as David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo during his long career, but he does not know Colombian football or the tough South American tie.
In a country that exports technicians with meritorious trajectories, Pekerman marked the return of the selection to foreign hands, with an outstanding note. His calm leadership, without shrillness, conquered the Colombians. In Russia he became the coach who has led the tricolor in more World Cup matches, with nine games (six wins, two losses, one draw). The curriculum of the Argentine, with three worlds on top, it is difficult to match. Queiroz was practically the last option of guarantees for a federation that spent months shuffling candidates that were falling little by little. From Colombians Reinaldo Rueda and Juan Carlos Osorio, who signed with Chile and Paraguay, respectively, until Scolari, currently in Palmeiras, who claimed to have rejected an offer that the leaders denied.
"Queiroz tries to make balanced teams behind, a sector of the field where we do not have so many guarantees, the big question is whether he will be audacious in a team like Colombia, which has more creative players," says Colombian journalist Nicolás Samper, analyst at the chain RCN "He will have very little time thinking about Copa América to structure a football idea," he warns.
In a region that bid farewell to Russia with wounded pride and without any semifinalists, the Copa America will be the thermometer to gauge the start of the new cycles. With its commitment to Queiroz, Colombia was the last team to define technical. Four of the ten selections in the region gave continuity to the coaches with which they faced the World Cup in Russia, or the decisive line of the eliminatory. Brazil continues with Tite, Uruguay with Óscar Tábarez, Peru renewed the Argentine Ricardo Gareca and Venezuela maintains the hopeful project of Rafael Dudamel. Three other teams opted for Colombians: Paraguay with Juan Carlos Osorio, Ecuador with the return of Hernán Darío "Bolillo" Gómez and Chile -currently two-time champion- Reinaldo Rueda. Bolivia opted for Eduardo Villegas and Argentina will face the tournament with interim Lionel Scaloni. Japan and Qatar – finalists of the Asian Cup and upcoming Olympic and World Cup venues – are invited countries.
With a reputation as a planner and reflective, the Portuguese does not have many titles in his record, but certainly is tanning in various environments. "I have worked with selection teams for many years. The virtues and defects of football are common in all parts of the world. If there is one virtuous thing about football, it has a common root: the political, social and cultural impact provokes the same reactions throughout the world ", he said in an interview with this newspaper during the World Cup in Russia. "When I had the opportunity to apply my vision to work with the lower categories of the Portugal team, I won two World Cups."
Pékerman consolidated a fiercely competitive group, but some of the main references of his spine are already approaching the decline of their careers. Although Falcao remains in force with Monaco at 32 years of age, it will be difficult to reach Qatar in full physical condition. Something similar can be projected for Carlos Sánchez (32), from Aston Villa, and Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (30), from Juventus.
The new coach should start some degree of generational renewal, but the harvest is promising. At the age of 27, James is still the soul of his team, and he is accompanied by ten by River Plate Juan Fernando Quintero (26), the tireless recuperator Wilmar Barrios (25), the rocky couple of central Premier composed by Davinsón Sánchez (22, Tottenham) and Yerry Mina (24, Everton), in addition to the lateral of Atlético de Madrid Santiago Arias (27), just to mention some of those who played the last World Cup. Among those who were left out is the powerful striker Duván Zapata (27), feeling the Serie A with Atalanta.