Luis Diaz scored twice for Colombia as Los Cafeteros defeated Brazil 2-1 in qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The result marks the first time Colombia has ever beaten Brazil in World Cup qualifying.
Diaz’s goals came one week after his father was released after being kidnapped by ELN (National Liberation Army/Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional), a left-wing guerrilla group described as a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States and the United Nations. Diaz’s father was in the stands to watch the game in Baranquilla, Colombia, in which Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring for Brazil in the 4th minute before Diaz bagged a quick brace, with goals in the 75th and 79th minutes.
Colombia is undefeated in World Cup qualifying after five matches and now moves into third place in CONMEBOL with nine points, behind Argentina and Uruguay. Díaz and Colombia face Paraguay in Asunción on Tuesday. Brazil has lost its second consecutive match and is now in fifth place.
Mules, motorbikes and a ‘mistake’ – the kidnap of Luis Diaz’s father
How did Diaz do it?
Díaz was in inspired form, at times taking on the entire Brazilian team on his own. He had plenty of chances, though many of them were wasted. But in the 75th minute, Colombia left back Cristian Borja’s cross found Díaz unmarked and the 26-year-old finished coolly with his head, beating Brazil goalkeeper and Liverpool teammate Alisson. Díaz’s father Luis Manuel wept in the stands, nearly fainting from the emotion.
Five minutes later, James Rodriguez whipped a ball into the Brazilian penalty area and Díaz scored again with a glancing header, giving Colombia a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Colombia’s Luis Díaz scored two goals in five minutes with his father in the stands 💛
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) November 17, 2023
After the match, Díaz told the touchline reporter: “you have to suffer if you want to win.”
“We’ve lived through some difficult moments, but life makes you stronger and brave,” Díaz said. “Not just in football but in life. I think we deserved this win. Not just me. All of us. I’m grateful to my teammates and the coaching staff. They were there for me at all times. I want to dedicate this win to the people (of Colombia.)”
Díaz also thanked Alisson, his Liverpool teammate, for supporting him during the harrowing kidnapping ordeal. “He’s a great human being. I really respect him,” said Díaz of Allison. “He was very happy for me because he knows what we all went through. He gave me all the support I could’ve asked for.”
The kidnapping of Luis Diaz’s parents that left Liverpool ‘fighting for Lucho’
(Photo: JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images)