Yellow-clad crowds from Colombia bring slice of Latin American spirit to Russia
They are likely to outnumber England fans on the streets of Moscow ahead of their World Cup clash on Tuesday.
Fans of England’s next opponent have brought a large slice of Latin American festival spirit to Russia for the World Cup.
The appetite for football in Colombia is such that supporters of Los Cafeteros – which translates as the coffee growers – were third in the list of countries outside Russia who had bought the most tickets to this summer’s tournament.
Fifa figures showed they had bought 64,231 ticket as of two weeks before the competition, while the Russian Ministry of Communications said 28,882 Colombia residents had ordered Fan IDs as of Monday.
Wearing the bright yellow of their national team, their vocal support is likely to outnumber England fans on the streets of Moscow ahead of Tuesday’s last 16 match.
The country, which has a population of more than 47 million, is in South America and shares a border with England’s Group G opponent Panama.
Much of the country is religious, with 79% of the population identifying as Roman Catholic and 14% as Protestant.
The political situation has been historically tumultuous and the country recently held its first presidential election since the end of an internal armed conflict dating back more than 50 years.
Colombia’s new president-elect Ivan Duque has vowed not to tear up the historic peace agreement that was forged with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in late 2016 and paved the way for the Marxist group to become a political party in September last year.
But the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to large parts of the country, mostly in rural and border areas, where the National Liberation Army continues to operate.
Many will associate the country with the drugs trade and particularly cartel leader Pablo Escobar who is characterised in the Netflix show Narcos.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates the nation is the world’s largest producer of coca and supplies cocaine to nearly the entire US market.
It is also known for producing cannabis and opium, which the CIA believes makes it the second largest supplier of heroin to the US.
As for its legitimate economy, Colombia is the world’s fourth largest coal producer and third largest coffee exporter, according to the CIA.
When many people think of famous Colombians, the first names that perhaps to spring to mind are pop star Shakira and Colombian-American actress Sofia Vergara.
Meanwhile, footballers Carlos Valderrama and Rene Higuita, the goalkeeper famous the scorpion kick save against England, live on in the memory for most football fans.