The time has finally come. After a four year gap, World Cup preparations are underway, and you know what that means — party time! Okay, maybe not necessarily, but it was certainly party time for members of Colombia’s national team — which includes Bayern Munich star James Rodriguez — at the Estadio El Campín in Bogota on Friday evening.
Joined by around 35,000 spectators, the 2014 World Cup quarterfinalists played an internal friendly against themselves, followed by fireworks display and a music show. The event included a performance by Colombian reggaeton singer Maluma, and an appearance by Olympic gold-medalist Caterine Ibargüen Mena. She handed football captain Radamel Falcao a Colombian flag, who responded by saying: “We take the hearts of 50 million Colombians and will defend this flag with all our might.”
The South American nation hopes to better its tremendous performance from the previous World Cup, where they were knocked out by hosts Brazil in the quarterfinals. James, who was the top scorer of the World Cup in 2014, fancies his team’s chances. “We have more experience and that makes a difference for this World Cup”, he said.
Jose Pekerman’s team will now fly to will fly to Italy next, where they have a friendly against Egypt in the city of Bergamo. That will then be followed by a training camp in Kazan, before the team opens its campaign against Japan on June 19.