Featured Matches
Previous
Tottenham Hotspur
AEL
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Internazionale
Stjarnan
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hull City
KSC Lokeren
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Lyon
4:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Krasnodar
Real Sociedad
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Lokomotiv Moscow
Apollon Limassol
3:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Metalist Kharkiv
Ruch Chorzow
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Krasnodar
Real Sociedad
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
Dinamo Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Neftchi Baku PFC
FK Partizan Belgrade
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
PAOK Salonika
Zimbru Chisinau
4:15 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Lyon
4:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Rostov
Trabzonspor
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
PSV Eindhoven
0
0
LIVE 0'
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Sheriff Tiraspol
Rijeka
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Twente Enschede
FK Qarabag
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Asteras Tripolis
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
FC Midtjylland
Panathinaikos
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
FC Zorya Luhansk
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FC Zürich
FC Spartak Trnava
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Torino
RNK Split
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Sparta Prague
PEC Zwolle
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
St Etienne
Karabükspor
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
HJK Helsinki
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Debrecen
BSC Young Boys
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Internazionale
Stjarnan
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hull City
KSC Lokeren
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Borussia Monchengladbach
FK Sarajevo
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Villarreal
Astana 1964
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Dinamo Minsk
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
AEL
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Dinamo Zagreb
Petrolul Ploiesti
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Club Brugge
Grasshoppers Zürich
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
Aktobe Lento
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Rio Ave
Elfsborg
8:15 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Waterhouse
Tauro FC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Olimpia
Alpha United
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Alajuelense
Chorrillo FC
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Danubio F.C.
Deportivo Capiatá
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Fluminense FC
Goiás EC
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Caracas F.C.
Inti Gas Deportes
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
César Vallejo
Millonarios
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Criciúma
São Paulo
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sport
EC Vitória
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Deportivo Cali
UTC
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Wilstermann
Peñarol
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Banfield
Tigre
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Lanús
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Quilmes
San Lorenzo
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gremio
Santos FC
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad de Chile
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Pumas Generalena
Limon
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Quarterfinals Day 1: Favorites win through

Five Aside Jul 4, 2014
Read
 Posted by Carl Worswick
Jun 19, 2014

Pekerman making all the right moves

2014 FIFA World Cup Group C: Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast

They imposed a booze ban, tightened driving restrictions and threw 30,000 police officers out on the streets of capital city Bogota, but nothing could stymie the wild celebrations that swept Colombia following the team's 2-1 win over Ivory Coast to edge Los Cafeteros tantalizingly close to the round of 16.

- Brewin: Three points: Colombians edge Ivorians

- Vickery: Falcao absence gives Colombia options

The Mane Garrincha Stadium was again a sea of yellow as legions of Colombian fans roared their side to victory under the balmy sunshine in Brazil's capital.

Goals from James Rodriguez and youngster Juan Fernando Quintero steered Jose Pekerman's side to back-to-back victories in Group C to book a place in the last 16 with a game to go in the group stage.

ColombiaColombia
Ivory CoastIvory Coast
2
1
ESPN, ESPN3 FT
Match 21
Game Details

Despite a dazzling Gervinho effort 15 minutes from time, Pekerman's squad weathered a heavy assault on David Ospina's goal in the closing stages to grab the vital three points.

That this victory occurred on June 19 will be of special significance for Colombia, whose only other appearance in the last 16 came courtesy of Freddy Rincon's last-gasp strike against Germany on the exact same day in 1990.

Back then, the South Americans would be later dumped out of the Italy tournament after a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Cameroon. But more than two decades on, and following consecutive victories at a finals for the first time, Colombia's colourful legion of fans are now left dreaming whether the team can go one step further.

Pekerman paid tribute to the great 1990 Colombia side in his postmatch preference, describing the group led by iconic captain Carlos "El Pibe" Valderrama an "incredible team." But the Argentine coach refused to be drawn into comparisons between his side and that of yesteryear.

"We cannot erase memories of a side that swept world football back then playing such great football," the 64-year-old coach said. "But we will not get carried away thinking we can go further than them. We still have a crucial game against Japan to think about."

Those words of caution are nothing unusual for a coach whose 2½-year term in charge of Colombia has been marked by reticence and keeping expectations under wraps. Having lost key striker Radamel Falcao to a lengthy knee injury just three weeks ago, Pekerman again fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Teo Gutierrez left on his own as the main striker.

Head coach Jose Pekerman, with striker Teo Gutierrez, has inspired Colombia to two straight wins to open the World Cup.
Head coach Jose Pekerman, with striker Teo Gutierrez, has inspired Colombia to two straight wins to open the World Cup.

Against Greece it was considered a bold move to rip up the flexible 4-2-2-2 system Pekerman had employed so successfully in coasting through the qualifiers. Playing one striker had been tried before, and it had failed miserably as Colombia flopped to a surprise defeat in Venezuela back in March 2013. Back then, Pekerman had admitted he had been wrong to make that change, but it demonstrated it was a switch he had long toyed with.

In his postmatch news conference, he expressed his relief that in the short time he had had to work on a new system, his players had assumed the challenge of replacing somebody so crucial as Falcao.

"It is not easy to substitute somebody like Falcao, who was so important for us in qualifying. This was only made possible due to our players each accepting responsibility, commitment and overcoming the pressure. But, admittedly, there is always doubt when you make such a change," Pekerman explained.

Of course, the daring move had been a risk, and it's still perhaps a little too early to judge the merits of Pekerman's drastic switch.

But it isn't just in the one-striker formation that Pekerman has demonstrated his worth. Rodriguez, who was again voted man of the match against Ivory Coast, is a product of the Pekerman regime.

While true that the youngster made his Colombia debut shortly before the Argentine took over, it is under Pekerman that he has flourished. One of the 64-year-old coach's first moves upon taking over was to hand Rodriguez the No. 10 shirt. It was a big act of faith in such a young player, but after playing out on the left wing throughout qualifying, Pekerman then shifted the Monaco man inside and made him the focal point of Colombia's attacks. Whenever the team has been at its free-flowing best, Rodriguez's vision has usually been behind it. Against Greece and Ivory Coast, his roaming role across the front line has made him one of the revelations of the tournament so far.

One of the other crucial roles of a manager is to make decisions at exactly the right time. Postgame, Pekerman confirmed he had been "convinced" that Quintero would provide the spark when he set the youngster on after 53 minutes.

"We knew the right time to introduce him, and so it's very pleasing to witness his performance," Pekerman beamed.

This is not boastful talk about an act that has already occurred; that really isn't Pekerman's style. Instead, like a schoolmaster exalting the latest of his star pupils, the coach drew on his experiences from coaching his native Argentina to inspire his young charges to change a game that was hanging in a delicate position.

The FC Porto midfielder's introduction early in the second half was a masterstroke, but Pekerman had done something similar before. Back in qualifying against Chile, the coach had changed the dynamics of a match Colombia were losing 1-0. Colombia needed the win, so Pekerman brought on Macnelly Torres, a classic No. 10, in a defensive midfield role. The Colombian press was perplexed; nobody could understand quite how the Argentine could field a creative player in such an unfamiliar role. But Colombia ran out 3-1 winners, and Torres was the catalyst for that change in sitting deep and controlling possession.

There were similarities in Quintero's task on Thursday against Ivory Coast. His goal was just the icing on the cake for a player who assumed the responsibility that Pekerman mentions with so much maturity. Last year Quintero was playing at the U20 World Cup finals in Turkey and had only a handful of games to his name. But Pekerman, perhaps mindful of his decision to not use superstar Lionel Messi at the 2006 finals, trusted his instincts.

Clearly, Pekerman has had his fair share of good fortune with so many great, young players emerging and blossoming at the same time, but it takes somebody shrewd to craft those ideas together in a collective and cohesive team unit. Pekerman has so far achieved that, and if Colombia go on to outperform the team from 1990, it will be no small part due to the Argentine coach whom Colombians have adopted as one of their own.