* COACH: Francisco Maturana.
* KEY PLAYERS: Carlos Valderrama, Freddy Rincon, Oscar Cordoba.
* STRENGTHS: Colombia comes into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the world. It has been beaten only once in the last year and is scoring goals with ease. Striker Faustino Asprilla is said to be destined for World Cup stardom, but it was the more dependable Rincon who scored the most goals in qualifying play. Valderrama, South America's player of the year in 1993, controls the action from midfield and is extremely influential. Since taking over from 1990 goalkeeper Rene Higuita, Cordoba has given the defense far more confidence.
* WEAKNESSES: Colombia has never been as highly ranked or regarded in its history, and it is possible that the widely held expectations of winning the World Cup might unnerve the players. So much effort is put into the attack that the defense is occasionally left without help.
* WORLD CUP HISTORY: Two previous appearances. Record of 1-4-2. Best finish was reaching the second round in 1990.
* LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: Maturana, the coach, is a member of Colombia's constitutional assembly and was awarded the nation's highest honor, the Cruz de Boyaca, after the team's 5-0 qualifying victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires.