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
Most capsYénier Márquez (126)
Top scorerLester Moré (30)
Home stadiumEstadio Pedro Marrero
FIFA codeCUB
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 179 Increase 1 (16 September 2021)[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, 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 Stefan 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. 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]

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

24 March WC 1st Round Qualifying Guatemala   1–0   Cuba Guatemala City, Guatemala
18:00 UTC−6
Report Stadium: Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores
Referee: Benjamin Pineda Avila (Costa Rica)
28 March WC 1st Round Qualifying Cuba   1–2   Curaçao Guatemala City, Guatemala
15:00 UTC−6
Report
Stadium: Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores
Referee: Germán Stanley Martínez Miranda (El Salvador)
2 June WC 1st Round Qualifying Cuba   5–0   British Virgin Islands Guatemala City, Guatemala
15:30 UTC−6
Report Stadium: Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores
Referee: Jose Raul Torres Rivera (Puerto Rico)
3 July 2021 Gold Cup Qualifying Cuba   0–3
(Awarded)
  French Guiana Fort Lauderdale, United States
19:00 Report Stadium: DRV PNK Stadium
Note: Due to COVID-19 related travel and visa challenges regarding the cuban team, the match was cancelled and awarded as a win to French Guiana.[7]

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

The following players were called up for the 2021 Gold Cup qualifying match against French Guiana on 3 July 2021.[8][9]
Caps and goals updated as of 8 June 2021, after match against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Sandy Sánchez (1994-05-24) 24 May 1994 (age 27) 22 1   Porto Velho
12 1GK Raiko Arozarena (1997-03-27) 27 March 1997 (age 24) 0 0   Tampa Bay Rowdies
21 1GK Nelson Johnston (1990-02-25) 25 February 1990 (age 31) 9 0   Real Sociedad

2 2DF Modesto Méndez (1998-01-06) 6 January 1998 (age 23) 1 0   Fort Lauderdale CF
3 2DF Erick Rizo (1991-02-28) 28 February 1991 (age 30) 21 1   Santiago de Cuba
4 2DF Cavafe (1999-04-25) 25 April 1999 (age 22) 4 1   Navalcarnero
5 2DF Dariel Morejón (1998-12-22) 22 December 1998 (age 22) 18 0   Navegantes
6 2DF Yosel Piedra (1994-03-27) 27 March 1994 (age 27) 25 0   Chalatenango
13 2DF Jorge Corrales (1991-05-20) 20 May 1991 (age 30) 38 1   FC Tulsa
15 2DF Yunior Pérez (2002-01-01) 1 January 2002 (age 19) 3 0   Guantánamo

7 3MF Rolando Abreu (1992-05-15) 15 May 1992 (age 29) 18 0   Santiago de Cuba
8 3MF Davide Incerti (2002-06-22) 22 June 2002 (age 19) 2 0   Ternana
10 3MF Aricheel Hernández (1993-09-20) 20 September 1993 (age 28) 28 3   O&M
11 3MF Onel Hernández (1993-02-01) 1 February 1993 (age 28) 4 2   Norwich City
14 3MF Karel Espino (2001-10-27) 27 October 2001 (age 19) 15 0   Comunicaciones
17 3MF Jean Carlos Rodríguez (1999-05-27) 27 May 1999 (age 22) 9 0   C.S.D. Municipal
22 3MF Asmel Núñez (2000-01-01) 1 January 2000 (age 21) 2 0   Villa Clara

9 4FW Maikel Reyes (1993-03-04) 4 March 1993 (age 28) 26 5   Real Sociedad
16 4FW Joel Apezteguía (1983-12-17) 17 December 1983 (age 37) 2 0   Tre Fiori
18 4FW Yasniel Matos (2000-01-01) 1 January 2000 (age 21) 4 0   C.S.D. Municipal
19 4FW Willian Pozo-Venta (1997-08-27) 27 August 1997 (age 24) 2 0   Strømmen
20 4FW Dairon Reyes (2003-09-18) 18 September 2003 (age 18) 2 1   Fort Lauderdale CF
23 4FW Luis Paradela (1997-01-21) 21 January 1997 (age 24) 17 6   Santos de Guápiles

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

GK Elier Pozo (1995-01-28) 28 January 1995 (age 26) 2 0   Navegantes v.   Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, June 8, 2021

DF Sandro Cutiño (1995-03-03) 3 March 1995 (age 26) 5 0   Porto Velho v.   Curaçao, March 28, 2021
DF Darío Ramos (1996-02-01) 1 February 1996 (age 25) 4 0   Artemisa v.   Guatemala, January 31, 2021
DF Leandro Pérez (1999-01-01) 1 January 1999 (age 22) 0 0   Las Tunas v.   Guatemala, January 31, 2021

MF José Alberto Pérez (1999-09-15) 15 September 1999 (age 22) 5 0   La Habana v.   Curaçao, March 28, 2021
MF Norgeman Rodríguez (1996-04-10) 10 April 1996 (age 25) 0 0   Las Tunas v.   Curaçao, March 28, 2021
MF York González (2002-02-14) 14 February 2002 (age 19) 3 0   Camaguey v.   Guatemala, January 31, 2021 PRE

FW Sánder Fernández (1987-07-19) 19 July 1987 (age 34) 14 0   Porto Velho v.   Curaçao, March 28, 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

CoachesEdit

Competitive recordEdit

World Cup recordEdit

Cuba's FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA
  1930 Did not enter Did not enter
  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 T 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 Withdrew
Total 11/25 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 To be determined
Total 4 0 0 4 0 18 12th

NAFC Championship recordEdit

  • 1947 – Runners-up
  • 1949 – Third place

Caribbean Cup recordEdit

CFU Caribbean Cup
Year Round Pld W D L GF GA
  1989 Did not enter
  1990
  1991 Withdrew
  1992 Fourth Place 5 2 2 1 4 2
  1993 Did not enter
  1994 Withdrew
   1995 Third Place 5 3 0 2 9 6
  1996 Second Place 5 3 1 1 7 2
  1997 Did not enter
    1998 Did not qualify
  1999 Second Place 5 4 0 1 9 3
  2001 Fourth Place 5 1 2 2 5 7
  2005 Second Place 3 2 0 1 5 2
  2007 Third Place 5 2 1 2 7 6
  2008 Fourth Place 5 2 2 1 7 4
  2010 Third Place 5 4 0 1 5 2
  2012 Champions 5 4 0 1 5 2
  2014 Fourth Place 4 1 2 1 5 5
  2017 Did not qualify
Total 1 Championship 52 28 10 14 68 41

HonoursEdit

Major competitions

Minor competitions

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 14 October 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  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. ^ "Concacaf Statement regarding the Cuban National Team". CONCACAF. 3 July 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  8. ^ https://www.fctulsa.com/news_article/show/1166344
  9. ^ https://www.uslchampionship.com/news_article/show/1166038-tulsa-s-corrales-named-in-cuba-squad-for-world-cup-qualifying#:~:text=FC%20Tulsa's%20Jorge%20Luis%20Corrales%20and%20Fort%20Lauderdale%20CF's%20Modesto,World%20Cup%20Qualifying%20in%20June.
  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. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Cuba 1 Trinidad & Tobago 0". Soccerway. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.

External linksEdit