TORONTO – Toronto is a city known for its diversity and strong ethnic ties, and this mosaic of nationalities is on full display every four years during the FIFA World Cup.
For Toronto FC and Canadian national team midfielder Jonathan Osorio, the World Cup is the ultimate goal. But for the 2014 tournament, Osorio has been wearing his yellow, red and blue Colombia shirt.
Osorio is of Colombian descent. Both of his parents are from Colombia, and the entire Osorio family gathered at his grandfather’s garage to watch Colombia’s first World Cup game, a 3-0 win over Greece.
“We were just going crazy!” Osorio told MLSsoccer.com. “It was a 3-0 win and we were going crazy. It’s done us all really proud.“
Colombia (3-0-0) qualified for the Round of 16 with all nine points, scoring nine goals and conceding just two. Having watched Colombia from a young age, Osorio says this current Colombia side is comparable to none.
“It definitely is the best World Cup we’ve had, ever,” Osorio said. “We’re really proud of our team. I always say, people don’t really look at Colombia, they point out some negatives about them, and point out our bad years but I think Colombia is a beautiful country to go, to visit and now it’s a good country when it comes to producing players.”
“James Rodriguez is only 22 years old, it’s unbelievable,” Osorio said. “It’s giving a lot of Colombian kids hope that they can do it as well. That’s exactly what it does; it’s a motivation for the entire country.”
This success comes despite the absence of Colombia’s top talent, Falcao, who was ruled out of the World Cup after an ACL injury early in the year.
“I always knew, I always said, Colombia has a lot of strikers around the whole world, playing in Europe, playing for big teams,” Osorio said. “Of course, Falcao, you want to have your best player there, but we’ve done well without him.”
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Colombia now take on Uruguay in the Round of 16 on Saturday (4 pm ET, ABC, Univision, CBC), and this particular game is extra special for Osorio, since the TFC midfielder developed his game in Uruguay’s Club Nacional. Still, he’ll be rooting for just one team on the day.
“On our staff, we’ve got a Uruguayan guy, so we won’t be talking on Saturday!” Osorio joked.
So, how does Osorio see this game unfolding?
“I think it will be 2-0 for Colombia!”