Colombia is relying on two teenage stars to help lighten their Women’s World Cup qualifying clash against Jamaica on Tuesday and lead them to the first quarterfinals.
Real Madrid forward Linda Caicedo has already made herself known to the world with goals in wins over South Korea and Germany in the group stage.
Ana María Guzmán, 18, will join her in Melbourne in her tournament debut with attacking defender Manuela Vanegas penalized for two yellow cards.
Coach Nelson Abadía has been a mentor to both Caicedo and Guzmán since they were 12 years old and has full faith that they will rise to the occasion.
“I have 23 players and they are all very talented,” said Abadia, who is known for sticking with the same starting team whenever possible.
“I fully trust Ana, she is very capable.”
Guzmán played in last year’s Under-17 World Cup in India, where they lost 1-0 to Spain in the final, and said she was ready to step up.
“I will play in any position, left or right, and I will enjoy every second,” said the Deportivo Pereira player, sitting next to her coach.
“It is a great opportunity. The coach has been a key person in my life, he has always supported me and I want to give my best.
“About Linda, she is a player who shows that dreams can be achieved, but you have to work for it.
“Playing with Linda is very special. Yes, we are the youngest, but we will break our backs for this shirt.
Guzmán is expected to be the only change in the team that lost 1-0 to Morocco in its last group match.
Abadia said he was wary of a Jamaican team also playing for the right to be in their first World Cup quarterfinal.
“We know what Jamaica offers, they are a very solid defensive team,” he said.
“We also have to pay attention to the counter-attack, because they are also very strong in that area.
“There are high expectations, but we have analyzed his game very well and we will approach it with intelligence and good management.”
subscribe to ASK MORE to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download from 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or queries, Contact Us.