Cuba national football team

The Cuba national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de Cuba) represents Cuba in men's international football and it is controlled by the Football Association of Cuba, The team's nickname is Leones del Caribe (Lions of Caribbean), The team represents all three FIFA, Caribbean Football Union and Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

Cuba
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Leones del Caribe
(Lions of the Caribbean)
AssociationAsociación de Fútbol de Cuba
ConfederationCONCACAF (North America)
Sub-confederationCFU (Caribbean)
Head coachPablo Elier Sánchez
CaptainArichel Hernández
Most capsYénier Márquez (126)
Top scorerLester Moré (30)
Home stadiumEstadio Pedro Marrero
FIFA codeCUB
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 167 Steady (25 August 2022)[1]
Highest46 (November – December 2006)
Lowest182 (August 2017, March–May 2018)
First international
 Cuba 3–1 Jamaica 
(Havana, Cuba; 16 March 1930)
Biggest win
 Cuba 11–0 Turks and Caicos Islands 
(Havana, Cuba; 8 September 2018)
Biggest defeat
 Sweden 8–0 Cuba 
(Antibes, France; 12 June 1938)
 Soviet Union 8–0 Cuba 
(Moscow, Soviet Union; 24 July 1980)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1938)
Best resultQuarter-finals (1938)
Gold Cup
Appearances11 (first in 1971)
Best resultFourth place (1971)

They were the first Caribbean team to get to the World Cup Quarter finals – they did so in 1938. There, in the round of 16, they defeated Romania in a replay, 2–1, after drawing against them 3–3. They were then eliminated in the quarter-finals by Sweden, 8–0. Cuba has not returned to the World Cup since.

Cuba finished second in the Caribbean Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2005 and won the 2012 Caribbean Cup.

Cuba finished second in the North American Nations Cup in 1947 in which they hosted the tournament.

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

Cuba played its first international football match on 16 March 1930 at that year's Central American and Caribbean Games. They beat Jamaica (then a British colony) 3–1 in Havana. Four days later, they beat Honduras 7–0.[3] Cuba were managed by José Tapia, who remained in charge until after Cuba's 1938 World Cup campaign.

Cuba's first World Cup qualification campaign was for the 1934 World Cup in Italy. All of the CONCACAF entrants were placed in Group 11. The winner of a best-of-three tournament between the two weakest nations, Cuba and Haiti would produce a winner to play 1930 qualifiers Mexico in another round of best-of-three. The winner of that would play 1930 semi-finalists the United States of America for a place in the finals. All of the matches between Cuba and Haiti in the first round were staged at Parc Leconte in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 28, 1 and 4 January–February 1934. Cuba won the first match 3–1 with Mario Lopez opening from a penalty and Hector Socorro scoring the second. The second match was a 1–1 draw with Lopez equalising in the 85th minute. In the final match, Cuba won 6–0 with two Lopez goals, one from Hector Socorro and one from his brother Francisco.

The second round against Mexico consisted of three matches at Parque Necaxa in Mexico City. Its first match, on 4 March 1934, saw Mexico go 3–0 up with a hat-trick by Dionisio Mejia, his goals scored in the 12th, 14th and 16th minutes. Mario Lopez scored twice for Cuba with one in each half, but Mexico won 3–2. A week later, Mejia scored another hat-trick as Mexico won 5–0, and seven days later, Mexico won 4–1 after Lopez opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Mexico did not qualify, their 4–2 play-off defeat to the United States was held in Rome during the finals, as the two teams had forgotten to stage it earlier.

1938–2000Edit

The decision to stage the 1938 World Cup in France was poorly received in the Americas, who had hoped for it to return to South America after the 1934 World Cup in Italy. All nations in South America except Brazil withdrew, and all CONCACAF nations except Cuba, thus the two qualified by default.

The tournament was held as a straight knock-out tournament of 16 nations. Cuba were drawn to play their first-ever World Cup finals match against Romania (who were making their third finals appearance) at Stade du T.O.E.C. in Toulouse, on 5 June 1938. Silviu Bindea put Romania ahead after 35 minutes and Hector Socorro equalised nine minutes later. With three minutes remaining, Tomás Fernández gave Cuba the lead, but within a minute Iuliu Baratky forced extra time with a Romanian equaliser. Romania went 3–2 up in extra-time by Ștefan Dobay's goal on 105 minutes, but Juan Tuñas equalised for Cuba with three minutes of extra-time remaining.

The replay was held at the same stadium, on 9 June. This was at the same time as Switzerland's 4–2 replay win over Germany. Dobay put Romania 1–0 up at half-time with a 35th-minute goal, but in the second half Cuba equalised through Socorro in the 51st minute. Six minutes later, Carlos Oliviera scored the winning goal and it ended 2–1. In the quarter-final, Cuba lost 8–0 to Sweden at Stade du Fort Carre in Antibes, on 12 June. Sweden's Tore Keller and Gustav Wetterström each scored hat-tricks.[4]

The NAFC Championship 1949 served as CONCACAF's qualification group for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. Cuba, the United States of America and Mexico played each other twice in a tournament held in Mexico City in September 1949. The top two would qualify. Cuba came third and did not qualify, their only point was gained from their second match, a 1–1 draw against the United States on 14 September. Cuba did not compete in World Cup qualification again until 1966, already under Castro's regime. They returned to participation in qualification for 1978, but the 1982 qualifiers represented a significant breakthrough- Cuba reached the final round of qualifying, and were only two points short of reaching the 1982 World Cup. In recent years, Cuban football has seen an improvement in results.

2000–presentEdit

They reached the quarter-finals of the 2003 Gold Cup (where they were beaten by the United States) by defeating Canada 2–0 in the Group stage. During the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, Cuba faced Costa Rica and were only eliminated on away goals. They held Costa Rica to a draw in Havana 2–2 and later battled it out for a 1–1 draw in Costa Rica.

During the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Cuba faced Antigua and Barbuda and the match ended in a 3–3 draw. Later in Pedro Marreo, Cuba won 4–1 to advance to the semi-final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. Cuba was with the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala. Cuba finished in the fourth place with only one victory against Guatemala 2–1 with a goal scored by Aliannis Urgellés. They finished in third place in the 2010 Caribbean Cup to take a place in the 2011 Gold Cup. In 2012, Cuba won the Caribbean Cup for the first time.

For the 2014 World Cup, the Cuban team qualified directly to the Third round as one of the six highest ranked teams and were placed in Group C with Honduras, Panama, and Canada. Although the Cuban team had several close games, they ended their qualification process with one draw and five defeats (losing home and away to Canada and Honduras and drawing to Panama in Havana in their final game after losing in Panama City). Their only goal of the qualifying campaign came from Alberto Gomes against Panama in the final game of the group stage.

Defection and economic migration by Cuban athletesEdit

As well as Cuban athletes in other sports, a number of football players have made the move to the United States in recent years. During the 2002 Gold Cup in Los Angeles, two Cuban players Rey Ángel Martínez and Alberto Delgado chose to remain in the United States. Striker Maykel Galindo did so during the 2005 Gold Cup. Two more, Osvaldo Alonso and Lester More did so during the 2007 Gold Cup.

In 2008, defections occurred during two separate tournaments held in the United States. In March, seven players from the U-23 national football, including Yeniel Bermúdez, Yordany Álvarez and Yendry Díaz defected during the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament while the team was based in Tampa, FL. In October, two days before the country's World Cup Qualifier versus the US, Reynier Alcántara and Pedro Faife walked away from the team's hotel near Washington, D.C.. During the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Yosniel Mesa defected while the team was in Charlotte, North Carolina.[5] During the 2015 Gold Cup, forward Keiler García defected to the United States before the team's first match against Mexico in Chicago.[6] In September 2019, five players (Yordan Santa Cruz, Andy Baquero, David Urgelles, Orlendis Benítez and Alejandro Portal) defected to Canada during the 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League before and after a match against Canada.[7][8]

Recent results and forthcoming fixturesEdit

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

2021Edit

10 November Friendly Nicaragua   0–3   Cuba Managua, Nicaragua
19:00 (UTC−6) Stadium: Nicaragua National Football Stadium
13 November Friendly Nicaragua   2–0   Cuba Managua, Nicaragua
18:00 (UTC−6) Stadium: Nicaragua National Football Stadium

2022Edit

24 March Friendly Guatemala   1–0   Cuba Antigua, Guatemala
18:00 (UTC−6)
  • Mejía   30'
Report Stadium: Estadio Pensativo
Referee: Julio Cesar Luna (Guatemala)
27 March Friendly Belize   0–3   Cuba Belmopan, Belize
Report
Stadium: FFB Stadium
Referee: Julio Cesar Luna (Guatemala)
2 June Nations League Guadeloupe   2–1   Cuba Les Abymes, Guadeloupe
20:00 UTC−4
Report Reyes   74' Stadium: Stade René Serge Nabajoth
Referee: José Torres (Puerto Rico)
5 June Nations League Cuba   3–0   Barbados Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
16:00 UTC−4
Report Stadium: Estadio Antonio Maceo
Referee: Marco Ortíz (Mexico)
9 June Nations League Antigua and Barbuda   0–2   Cuba Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
19:00 UTC−4 Report
Stadium: Warner Park
Referee: Kimbell Ward (St. Kitts and Nevis)
12 June Nations League Cuba   3–1   Antigua and Barbuda Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
16:00 UTC−4
Report
Stadium: Estadio Antonio Maceo
Referee: Guillermo Pacheco (Mexico)
22 September Friendly Cuba   v   Saint Kitts and Nevis Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Stadium: Estadio Antonio Maceo
25 September Friendly Saint Kitts and Nevis   v   Cuba Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Stadium: Estadio Antonio Maceo


2023Edit

23 March Nations League Barbados   v   Cuba Barbados
Report Stadium: TBD
26 March Nations League Cuba   v   Guadeloupe Cuba
Report Stadium: TBD

Coaching historyEdit

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
21 1GK Nelson Johnston (1990-02-25) 25 February 1990 (age 32) 14 0   Real Sociedad
12 1GK Elier Pozo (1995-01-28) 28 January 1995 (age 27) 4 0   Pinar del Río
1 1GK Sandy Sánchez (1994-05-24) 24 May 1994 (age 28) 26 1   Atlético Pantoja

4 2DF Cavafe (1999-04-25) 25 April 1999 (age 23) 10 1   FC Dornbirn
13 2DF Jorge Corrales (1991-05-20) 20 May 1991 (age 31) 42 1   Tulsa
5 2DF Dariel Morejón (1998-12-21) 21 December 1998 (age 23) 25 0   Villa Clara
6 2DF Yosel Piedra (1994-03-27) 27 March 1994 (age 28) 31 1   San Carlos
2 2DF Darío Ramos (1996-02-02) 2 February 1996 (age 26) 4 0   Artemisa
3 2DF Osniel Ramos (2002-02-25) 25 February 2002 (age 20) 4 0   Artemisa

7 3MF Rolando Abreu (1992-05-15) 15 May 1992 (age 30) 22 0   Santiago de Cuba
14 3MF Karel Espino (2001-10-27) 27 October 2001 (age 20) 22 1   Comunicaciones
10 3MF Arichel Hernández (captain) (1993-09-20) 20 September 1993 (age 29) 35 7   Universidad O&M
8 3MF Davide Incerti (2002-06-22) 22 June 2002 (age 20) 7 0   Olbia
22 3MF Asmel Núñez (1992-05-03) 3 May 1992 (age 30) 6 0   Ciego de Ávila
15 3MF Yunior Pérez (2001-03-12) 12 March 2001 (age 21) 11 0   Santa Lucía
20 3MF Dairon Reyes (2003-09-18) 18 September 2003 (age 19) 10 1   Inter Miami

16 4FW Christian Flores (1999-04-06) 6 April 1999 (age 23) 1 0   Santiago de Cuba
11 4FW Onel Hernández (1993-02-01) 1 February 1993 (age 29) 8 3   Norwich City
18 4FW Yasniel Matos (2002-03-29) 29 March 2002 (age 20) 11 0   Municipal
23 4FW Luis Paradela (1997-01-21) 21 January 1997 (age 25) 26 8   Santos de Guápiles
19 4FW Willian Pozo-Venta (1997-08-27) 27 August 1997 (age 25) 9 2   Notodden
9 4FW Maikel Reyes (1993-03-04) 4 March 1993 (age 29) 35 7   Pinar del Río
17 4FW Yasnay Rivero (1991-07-11) 11 July 1991 (age 31) 0 0   Artemisa

Recent call-upsEdit

The following players have also been called up to the Cuba squad within the last twelve months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up

DF Modesto Méndez (1998-01-06) 6 January 1998 (age 24) 5 0   Fort Lauderdale CF v.   Belize, 27 March 2022

MF York González (2002-02-14) 14 February 2002 (age 20) 3 0   Camaguey v.   Nicaragua; 13 November 2021

FW Marcel Hernández (1989-07-11) 11 July 1989 (age 33) 25 10   Alajuelense v.   Belize, 27 March 2022
FW Joel Apezteguía (1983-12-17) 17 December 1983 (age 38) 2 0   Tre Fiori v.   Nicaragua; 13 November 2021

INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
PRE Preliminary squad.
RET Player retired from the national team.
SUS Player is serving suspension.
WD Player withdrew from the squad due to non-injury issue.

Previous squadsEdit

Player recordsEdit

As of 19 November 2019[10]
Players in bold are still active with Cuba

Competitive recordEdit

World Cup recordEdit

Cuba's FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Year Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA
  1930 Not a FIFA member Not a FIFA member
  1934 Did not qualify 2nd 6 2 1 3 13 14
  1938 Quarter-finals 7th 3 1 1 1 5 12 Squad Bye
  1950 Did not qualify 3rd 4 0 1 3 3 11
  1954 Not accepted[11] Not accepted
  1958 Did not enter Did not enter
  1962
  1966 Did not qualify 3rd 4 1 1 2 3 5
  1970 Not accepted[11] Not accepted
  1974 Did not enter Did not enter
  1978 Did not qualify Playoff 5 2 2 1 7 5
  1982 5th 9 4 3 2 11 8
  1986 Did not enter Did not enter
  1990 Did not qualify 2nd 2 0 1 2 1 2
  1994 Withdrew Withdrew
  1998 Did not qualify 4th 10 4 1 5 17 18
    2002 Playoff 8 2 5 1 7 3
  2006 Playoff 4 2 2 0 8 4
  2010 4th 8 3 0 5 13 21
  2014 4th 6 0 1 5 1 10
  2018 Playoff 2 0 2 0 1 1
  2022 3rd 4 2 0 2 7 3
      2026 To be determined To be determined
Total Quarter-finals 1/22 3 1 1 1 5 12 72 22 20 31 92 105

CONCACAF Championship/Gold Cup recordEdit

CONCACAF Championship
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
  1963 Did not enter
  1965 Withdrew
  1967 Did not qualify
  1969 Did not enter
  1971 Fourth place 4th 5 1 2 2 5 7
  1973 Did not enter
  1977 Did not qualify
  1981 Final round 5th 5 1 2 2 4 8
1985 Did not enter
1989 Did not qualify
CONCACAF Gold Cup
  1991 Withdrew
    1993 Did not enter
  1996 Did not qualify
  1998 Group stage 10th 2 0 0 2 2 10
  2000 Did not qualify
  2002 Group stage 11th 2 0 1 1 0 1
    2003 Quarter-finals 8th 3 1 0 2 2 8
  2005 Group stage 12th 3 0 0 3 3 9
  2007 Group stage 12th 3 0 1 2 3 9
  2009 Withdrew
  2011 Group stage 12th 3 0 0 3 1 16
  2013 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 0 3 6 13
    2015 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 0 3 1 14
  2017 Did not qualify
      2019 Group stage 16th 3 0 0 3 0 17
  2021 Did not qualify
Total 11/26 13/27 37 5 6 26 27 112

CONCACAF Nations LeagueEdit

CONCACAF Nations League record
Year Division Group Pld W D* L GF GA P/R Rank
  2019−20 A A 4 0 0 4 0 18   12th
  2022–23 B A To be determined
Total 4 0 0 4 0 18 12th

CFU Caribbean CupEdit

CFU Championship and Caribbean Cup Qualification record
Year Round Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
  1978 Did not enter Did not enter
  1979
  1981
  1983
  1985
  1988
  1989
  1990
  1991 Withdrew Withdrew
  1992 Fourth place 5 2 2 1 4 2 2 2 0 0 8 0
  1993 Did not enter Did not enter
  1994 Withdrew Withdrew
   1995 Third place 5 3 0 2 9 6 3 3 0 0 15 0
  1996 Second place 5 3 1 1 7 2 1 1 0 0 4 0
  1997 Did not enter Did not enter
    1998 Did not qualify 2 1 1 0 4 3
  1999 Second place 5 4 0 1 9 3 3 3 0 0 13 2
  2001 Fourth place 5 1 2 2 5 7 3 3 0 0 7 1
  2005 Second place 3 2 0 1 5 2 4 3 1 0 6 1
  2007 Third place 5 2 1 2 7 6 6 5 1 0 24 2
  2008 Fourth place 5 2 2 1 7 4 3 2 1 0 14 2
  2010 Third place 5 3 1 1 5 4 3 1 2 0 7 5
  2012 Champions 5 4 0 1 5 2 3 1 1 1 6 2
  2014 Fourth place 4 1 2 1 5 5 Qualified as Champions
  2017 Did not qualify 2 1 0 1 2 4
Total Champions 52 27 11 14 68 43 31 28 8 2 105 21

NAFC Championship recordEdit

NAFC Championship
Year Result Pld W D L GF GA
  1947 Runners-up 2 1 0 1 6 5
  1949 Third place 4 0 1 3 3 11
Total Runners-up 6 1 1 4 9 16

CCCF ChampionshipEdit

CCCF Championship
Year Result Pld W D* L GF GA
  1941 Did not enter
  1943
  1946
  1948
  1951
  1953
  1955 Seventh place 6 1 0 5 3 17
  1957 Fifth place 4 0 0 4 1 11
  1960 Fifth place 4 1 0 3 5 12
  1961 Fifth place 4 0 0 4 2 9
Total Fifth place 18 2 0 16 11 49

HonoursEdit

Major competitions

Minor competitions

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 25 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 27 September 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Cuba – List of International Matches". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Baseball in Their Veins, but a New Ball at Their Feet". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Cuba's Yosniel Mesa defects". ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Keilen García, el premio-castigo de la libertad". ESPN Deportes. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  7. ^ Ebro, Jorge; González, Pedro J. (8 September 2019). "Tres cubanos más escapan en torneo de CONCACAF y ya suman cinco los que abandonan el equipo" [Three more Cubans escape in the CONCACAF tournament and there are already five who leave the team]. El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 21 September 2019.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Alicia (9 September 2019). "Report: Five Cuba national team players defect during Nations League". Major League Soccer.
  9. ^ "Cuba anuncia para segundo partido en la Concacaf Nations League" (in Spanish). JIT. 3 June 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  10. ^ Passo Alpuin, Luis Fernando. "Cuba - Record International Players". RSSSF.
  11. ^ a b "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Cuba 1 Trinidad & Tobago 0". Soccerway. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.

External linksEdit