For decades, Venezuela’s national football team was disparagingly nicknamed “Cinderella” for perennially failing to attend, being the first to depart, or finishing bottom of the pile in the Copa America and World Cup qualifiers.
Now it heads into June’s Copa America in Colombia and Argentina sitting 30th in the FIFA world rankings, ahead of fellow South Americans Paraguay (35), Ecuador (53) and Bolivia (81).
Here are some facts about Venezuelan football:
* Known as “La Vinotinto” (The Red Wine), thanks to the colour of its shirts, Venezuela is the only South American team to have never qualified for a World Cup. Only Ecuador joins it in having never won the Copa America.
* Venezuela hosted the Copa America for the first time in 2007, recording its first victory in the competition for 40 years with a 2-0 defeat of Peru. It was knocked out in the quarterfinals, 4-1 to Uruguay.