Colombia finally get out of the group stages of the World Cup for the first time since the 1990 World Cup in Italy, with a 2-1 victory against the Ivory Coast on Thursday.
Byline: Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
BRASILIA– Colombian substitute midfielder Juan Quintero goal in the 70 minute would guide Colombia to victory over The Elephants on a sunny Thursday morning.
Los Cafeteros midfielder James Rodriguez stole the ball from the Ivory Coast at midfield, he then immediately gave it to Colombian forward Teófilo Gutiérrez. Teo dribbled with the ball down the center of the field towards the penalty box, to the right of him Quintero was making a run to the box.
Teo spotted him, and gave him a pass leading Quintero deeper into the penalty box, the number 20 midfielder, then controlled the ball and slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net, giving Colombia a commanding 2-0 lead with 20 minutes left in the match.
However, the first half of this game was a scoreless 45 minutes. Though it was entertaining, both teams were firing back and forth on each other. Combing for a total of six shots, with the Colombians dominating the half, but failing to score. With a game that was producing so many chances, it would be only a matter of time till the goals came.
In the start of the second half Rodriguez would once again be involved for the Colombian attack, he would score his second goal of the tournament. Juan Cuadrado took a corner, he found a cutting Rodriguez in the heart of the box. The number 10 midfielder would out jump Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba , and send a powerful header to the top of the net, bending the fingers of The Elephants goalie Boubacar Barry and giving the coffee growers a 1-0 lead at the 63 minute.
“I’ve scored a few headers before, though not many to be honest,” Rodriguez told FIFA.com after the game. “Maybe three or four in my whole career. But this one was the most important of the lot and it’s made me happier than any other.”
The Colombian attack and the Cafeteros fans erupted at the Estádio Nacional of the goal, seven minutes later the Colombia would double their lead with Quintero finesse goal. The Coffee Growers were minutes away from clinching the second round with clean sheet victory.
However, Gervinho would cut the lead in half three minutes later after Quintero goal. At the 73 minute the Roma forward would show his class, he began the play from the left hand side of the field. He changed his direction and started to run towards the penalty box from the left.
The Roma player than dribbled through one player and than other in a matter of three seconds. Once he entered the penalty box, he encountered one more Colombian defender, he quickly changed his direction from right to left, lost the defender for a few seconds then blasted the ball to the bottom left hand corner of the net.
The Colombians goalkeeper David Ospina was able to get a hand on the ball, but the power Gervinho put on the ball proved to be too much as the ball bounced into the net, to cut the lead 2-1.
Though the goal for The Elephants would prove to be in vein, as the Colombians would hang on to win the match 2-1, and secure their place in the next round. However, the Colombian Coach Jose Perkerman does not want his players to loose focus of wining the group.
“It’s too soon to talk about winning the group,” Perkerman told FIFA.com. “I think that Japan will raise their game and will still be chasing qualification when they play us.”
The Colombians will be playing Japan on Tuesday, June 24 at the Arena Pantanal. As for the Ivory Coast, they will need to rebound against Greece on Tuesday as well at the Estádio Castelão. Since it will be the last games of the group stages, all four teams from group C will play their last matches simultaneously.
Click on this link to see the highlights of this match http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1894443, video provided by ESPN FC.