Melbourne (AFP): Colombia is banking on two teenage stars to help light up their Women’s World Cup knockout clash against Jamaica on Tuesday and steer them into a maiden quarter-final.
Real Madrid striker Linda Caicedo has already announced herself to the world with goals in wins against South Korea and Germany during the group phase. She is set to be joined in Melbourne by fellow 18-year-old Ana Maria Guzman in her tournament debut with attacking defender Manuela Vanegas suspended after two yellow cards.
Coach Nelson Abadia has mentored both Caicedo and Guzman since they were 12 years old and has full faith they will rise to the occasion. “I have 23 players and they are all very talented,” said Abadia, who is renowned for sticking with the same starting team where possible.
“I’m fully confident in Ana, she is very capable.” Guzman played at 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 any position, left or right and enjoy every second,” said the Deportivo Pereira player, sitting next to her coach.
“It’s 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. “On Linda, she is a player that proves dreams can be achieved, but you have to work for it. “To be playing with Linda is extra special. Yes, we are the youngest, but we will break our backs for this shirt.”
Guzman is expected to be the only change to the team that lost 1-0 to Morocco in their last group game. Abadia said he was wary of a Jamaican side also playing for the right to be in their first World Cup quarter-final. “We know what Jamaica offer, they are a very solid team in defence,” he said.
“We must pay attention to the counter-attack as well, because they are very strong in that area too. “There are big expectations, but we have analysed their game very well and we will approach it with intelligence and good management.”