Cuba national football team

Cuba national football team
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Leones del Caribe
(Lions of the Caribbean)
Association Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba
Sub-confederation CFU (Caribbean)
Confederation CONCACAF
(North America)
Head coach Raúl González Triana
Most caps Odelín Molina &
Yenier Márquez (107)
Top scorer Lester Moré (29)
Home stadium Estadio Pedro Marrero
FIFA ranking 100
Highest FIFA ranking 46 (November 2006)
Lowest FIFA ranking 175 (December 1994)
Elo ranking 98
Highest Elo ranking 52 (February 2005)
Lowest Elo ranking 143 (January 1965)
Home colours
Away colours
First international
Cuba Cuba 3–1 Jamaica 
(Cuba; March 16, 1930)
Biggest win
Cuba Cuba 9–0 Puerto Rico 
(Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep.; May 27, 1995)
Biggest defeat
 Sweden 8–0 Cuba Cuba
(Antibes, France; June 12, 1938)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1938)
Best result Quarter-finals; 1938
CONCACAF Championship
& Gold Cup
Appearances 7 (First in 1971)
Best result 4th; 1971

The Cuba national football team is the national team of Cuba and is controlled by the Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba. They are affiliated to the Caribbean Football Union of CONCACAF.

They were the first Caribbean team to make the World Cup, which they did 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.




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. [1] Cuba were managed by José Tapia, who remained in charge until after Cuba's 1938 FIFA World Cup campaign.

1934 World Cup qualification

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Cuba 3 2 1 0 10 2 5.00 5
2  Haiti 3 0 1 2 2 10 0.20 1

Cuba's first World Cup qualification campaign was for the 1934 FIFA 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 January, 1 February and 4 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.

Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
1  Mexico 3 3 0 0 12 3 4.00 6
2  Cuba 3 0 0 3 3 12 0.25 0

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 World Cup

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 drew to play their first-ever World Cup finals match against Romania (who were making their third finals appearance) at Stade Chapou 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 Tomas Fernandez 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 Tunas 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 as 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 Wetterstrom each scored hat-tricks.

1950 World Cup qualification

Team Pts GP W T L GF GA Dif
1  Mexico 8 4 4 0 0 17 2 +15
2  United States 3 4 1 1 2 8 15 -7
3  Cuba 1 4 0 1 3 3 11 -8

The NAFC Championship 1949 served as CONCACAF's qualification group for the 1950 FIFA 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 2 points short of reaching the 1982 World Cup. In recent years, Cuban football has seen an improvement in results. They reached the Quarter-finals of the 2003 Gold Cup (where they were beaten by the USA) 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 & Barbuda and drew 3–3 against Antigua & Barbuda. Later in Pedro Marreo Cuba won 4–1 to advance to the semifinal round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. Cuba was with United States, Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala. Cuba finished in the fourth place with only a victory against Guatemala 2–1 with a goal scored by Aliannis Urgellés.

They finished in third place in the Caribbean Cup 2010 to take a place in Gold Cup 2011.

Competition records

World Cup record

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
Uruguay 1930 Did Not Enter
Italy 1934 Did Not Qualify
France 1938 Quarter-Final 8th 3 1 1 1 5 12
Brazil 1950 Did Not Qualify
Switzerland 1954 Did Not Enter
Sweden 1958
Chile 1962
England 1966 Did Not Qualify
Mexico 1970 Did Not Enter
West Germany 1974
Argentina 1978 Did Not Qualify
Spain 1982
Mexico 1986 Did Not Enter
Italy 1990 Did Not Qualify
United States 1994 Withdrew
France 1998 Did Not Qualify
South Korea Japan 2002
Germany 2006
South Africa 2010
Brazil 2014 To Be Determined
Russia 2018
Qatar 2022
Total Quarter-Final 1/19 3 1 1 1 5 12

Gold Cup record

  • 1991Withdrew
  • 1993Did not enter
  • 1996Did not qualify
  • 1998 – Round 1
  • 2000Did not qualify
  • 2002 – Round 1
  • 2003 – Quarterfinals
  • 2005 – Round 1
  • 2007 – Round 1
  • 2009Withdrew
  • 2011 – Round 1

CONCACAF Championship record

  • 1963Did not enter
  • 1965Did not enter
  • 1967Did not qualify
  • 1969Did not enter
  • 1971 – 4th place
  • 1973Did not enter
  • 1977Did not qualify
  • 1981 – 5th place
  • 1985Did not enter
  • 1989Did not qualify

NAFC Championship record

  • 1947 – Runner-up
  • 1949 – Third place

Current squad

The following players were called up for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

No. Pos. Player DoB/Age Caps Club
1 1GK Odelín Molina August 3, 1974 (aged 36) 102 Cuba Villa Clara
2 3MF Carlos Francisco May 22, 1990 (aged 21) 19 Cuba Santiago de Cuba
3 2DF Yénier Márquez March 1, 1979 (aged 32) 91 Cuba Villa Clara
4 2DF Hánier Dranguet April 27, 1982 (aged 29) 21 Cuba Guantánamo
5 2DF Jorge Luís Clavelo August 8, 1982 (aged 28) 27 Cuba Villa Clara
6 3MF Yoel Colomé October 15, 1982 (aged 28) 24 Spain Barcelona B
7 3MF Marcel Hernández April 11, 1989 (aged 22) 11 Cuba Ciudad de La Habana
8 3MF Jaime Colomé (c) June 30, 1979 (aged 31) 63 Cuba Ciudad de La Habana
9 4FW Alain Cervantes November 17, 1983 (aged 27) 56 Cuba Ciego de Ávila
10 4FW Roberto Linares February 10, 1986 (aged 25) 28 Cuba Villa Clara
12 2DF Andres Valdes October 11, 1994 (aged 16) 1 Spain España
14 2DF Aliannis Urgellés June 25, 1985 (aged 25) 28 Cuba Guantánamo
15 4FW Yaudel Lahera February 9, 1991 (aged 20) 5 Cuba Ciudad de La Habana
16 2DF Reysander Fernández August 22, 1984 (aged 26) 57 Cuba Ciego de Ávila
17 4FW Yosniel Mesa May 11, 1984 (aged 27) 6 Cuba Cienfuegos
18 3MF Dagoberto Quesada October 6, 1987 (aged 23) 7 Cuba Camagüey
19 3MF Francisco Carrazana December 23, 1985 (aged 25) 1 Cuba Cienfuegos
20 3MF Alberto Gómez February 12, 1988 (aged 23) 5 Cuba Guantánamo

Defection and economic migration by Cuban athletes

As well as Cuban athletes in other sports, a number of football players (such as Maykel Galindo and Osvaldo Alonso) have made the move to the United States in recent years. During the 2002 Gold Cup in Los Angeles, two Cuban players Rey Angel Martinez 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 Bermudez, Yordany Alvarez and Yendry Diaz 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 USA, Reynier Alcantara 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.[2]


  • Cuba José Tapia (1930–38)
  • Cuba Marcelino Minsal (1947–49)
  • Czechoslovakia František Churda (1963–64)
  • Hungary Karoly Kocza (1966)
  • Hungary Laszlo Mohaczy (1967)
  • North Korea Kim Yong Ha (1970–71)
  • Cuba Sergio Padrón (1976)
  • Hungary Tibor Ivanicz (1980–81)
  • Italy Giovanni Campari (1990–92)
  • Cuba William Bennett (1998)
  • Peru Miguel Company (2000–04)
  • Cuba Armelio Luis (2005)


External links