Colombian teams in Copa Libertadores
How did all those who have ever made it through the group stage fare?
Colombia has always stood out for having competitive teams participating in the different editions of the Copa Libertadores de América. In fact, along with Paraguay, it is the country with the most titles below Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay with 3 championships. Let’s review how all the Colombian teams that have ever made it out of the group stage fared so that we can anticipate, at least a little, how this year’s representatives may fare in today’s matches: America de Cali, Santa Fe, Junior and Atletico Nacional.
We start with the only Colombian team to lift the coveted trophy on two occasions. The first was in 1989, beating Olimpia in the final. The second was in 2016 when it defeated Independiente del Valle in the final. But not all titles are titles, the verdolaga had managed to overcome the group stage 11 more times, of which 6 times in the round of 16, 2 in the quarterfinals, 2 in the semifinals and once runner-up out of a total of 23 participations.
The other Colombian team that was able to lift the cup. In 2004, beating none other than Boca Juniors in the final. It only needed 3 participations to achieve it, although it would later play it 5 more times, reaching the round of 16 twice and the quarterfinals only once, once it got past the group stage.
America of Cali
A unique case in the continent: They are the only team in the history of the cup to reach the final four times but not win any of them. In addition, 3 of these finals were consecutive (1985 with Argentinos Jrs, 1986 with River Plate and 1987 with Peñaron) and the runner-up in 1996 again with River Plate. In addition to these finals, they have reached the semifinals 6 times, the quarterfinals 2 times and the round of 16 3 times out of 21 participations.
The arch-rivals were also unlucky when they reached the finals. In 1978 and 1999, losing the finals to Boca Juniors and Palmeiras, respectively. In addition to these runner-up finishes, in 21 participations, they managed to reach the semifinals twice, the quarterfinals twice and the round of 16 only once.
The following teams made it out of the group stage but never reached a final. Despite this, they are teams that usually participate in the cup. Survived the group stage: Millonarios (6 times), Junior (6 times), Santa Fe (5 times), Independiente Medellín (3 times), Deportes Tolima (1 time), Cúcuta Deportivo (1 time), Atlético Bucaramanga (1 time).
Without a doubt, Colombian teams have been able to be protagonists of international competitions on several occasions (Santa Fe won the Sudamericana 2015), but it is difficult to know which will be the next one to lift the cup or at least manage to surprise the world.