Colombia won its first game of the Women’s World Cup 2-0 over South Korea as Las Cafeteras head coach Nelson Abadía served the first of a two-game suspension.
Colombia coach since 2017, Abadía received a red card at the end of the 2022 Copa América Femenina final for arguing with a referee. A spokesman for CONMEBOL, the governing body for international tournaments in South America, did not provide further details about the incident.
The red card was equivalent to a two-game suspension, which meant Colombia’s first two matches in Group H of the world tournament. Abadía will also miss Sunday’s game against Group H favorites Germany.
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«He’s like the dad of the team,» Colombian midfielder Elexa Bahr said. «But I don’t think he affected us at all. We all came here to win the first game and we did that.»
Angelo Marsiglia replaces Abbey.
«He was always there to give us the best conditions,» Colombian forward Linda Caicedo said. «He was very clear with what we had to do and to establish order on the pitch.»
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Bahr said the team played a friendly against China earlier this month with Abadía watching from the stands.
«It was a bit unusual for us,» he said, «but other than that, we tried to keep everything the same.»
Caicedo, at 18 years old is one of the many youth players playing in this World Cup, scored in the 39th minute in Tuesday’s game. She is the youngest goalscorer in the tournament so far. She made her debut with the Colombian national team at age 14 and beat cancer at 15, and this is the most important tournament of her career.
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“We knew that he would not be able to be there,” Caicedo said of Abidía, “but the information he gave us was very clear.”
Abadía’s son Mario, also an assistant coach, attended the post-match press conference in place of his father.
«They have excellent communication on the pitch,» Mario Abadía said of the Colombia players. «We do certain things during the week and in training, and then they show it off.»