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Colombia had its strongest phase in the 1990s

Football is the most popular sport in Colombia (according to FIFA, there are a total of 3,043,229 players, of whom 291,229 are registered and 2,752,000 are not registered, with 2,773 clubs and 15,800 officials). The Colombian National League is ranked 9th in the IFFHS ranking The World's Strongest National League 2014 (3rd in South America).

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The Colombian national team represents Colombia in international football competitions. The highest rank ever in the FIFA World Ranking is the current third in the world.

René Higuita, inventor of the "Scorpion Kicks" (voted the best football trick of all time), Carlos Valderrama, Leonel Álvarez, Faustino Asprilla, Iván Córdoba, Mario Yepes and Radamel Falcao are among the outstanding players in the country James Rodríguez. Colombian players have an impact on the wider world, especially on European football and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Colombia had its strongest phase in the 1990s, when it belonged to the giants of world football. A game in that time in 1993 resulted in a 5-0 victory against Argentina, which caused a special "mutual respect" rivalry between the two nations. During this time, Colombia qualified for the World Cup editions in 1990, 1994 and 1998 and reached 1990 only the second round. At the Copa América 2001, Óscar Córdoba was the first and only goalkeeper in history to score a perfect goal scoring a Copa América tournament.

Football became an important part of Colombia's identity as it fought against the negative image of Colombia from the mid-1980s until today. While Colombia has had ups and downs with sport, football is still universally loved and supported.

Colombia first took part in the 1938 FIFA World Cup, but dropped out of the qualifying tournament. They qualified for the final round in 1962, but retired in the first round. They returned to the tournament in 1990 and reached the second round with a team including Carlos Valderrama, Freddy Rincón and René Higuita.

During qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Colombia impressed with some extraordinary results, not least a 5-0 away win over Argentina, the losing finalist of the previous tournament. Their form was such that Pelé distinguished them as potential winners of the entire competition. However, the team retired in the first round after Andrés Escobar scored a notorious own goal for which an angry player had shot him on his return home.

Colombia returned to the competition in 1998 with lowered expectations and retired in the first round. They qualified again for a World Cup final, as 2014 ended a 16-year absence. Colombia was credited with a new, talented golden generation, led by James Rodríguez, who won the Golden Ball for six goals during the tournament when the Colombians reached their first quarterfinals in a World Cup. Colombia qualified for the tournament in 2018 and was in the second round at the top of his group. England left the tournament. The game ended 1-1, before England won 4-3 on penalties.

By the 1980s, the Colombian national football team was widely recognized as a weak team, and there was a shortage of fans as the Colombian Football Association did not make any investments for the national team, such as the La Violencia tragedy. Their lack of participation also contributed to this sporadic support, and although they had qualified for the 1962 FIFA World Cup, the Colombian team remained undervalued and underfilled as the remainder of South America, especially those of Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay, outside the traditional ability Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, despite their successes in youth football.

With the influx of drug money into football since the mid-1980s, a new generation of football stars with René Higuita, Faustino Asprilla, Carlos Valderrama, Andrés Escobar and Arnoldo Iguarán. Thus, the national team has become a symbol that fights the negative reputation of the country. This has made the sport popular and made the national team a sign of nationalism, pride and passion for many Colombians worldwide. Colombia is known for its passionate fan base, which is often present in large numbers, regardless of which national team Colombia plays in.

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