Soccer News of Sat, 5 Jul 20140
Colombia made a statement at World Cup, says Pekerman
The 64-year-old coach is proud of his team’s showing in Brazil, insisting they are once again prominent on the world stage after a 16-year absence from the tournament
Jose Pekerman believes Colombia made a statement at the World Cup despite seeing their dreams dashed by hosts Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Los Cafeteros reached the last eight of the competition in their first appearance at the finals since 1998 following some impressive performances against the likes of Japan and Uruguay.
Their campaign in Brazil was brought to an end by the host nation following goals from Thiago Silva and David Luiz in a 2-1 win, but Pekerman was nothing less than delighted by their showing during the tournament.
"In regards to everything we did during the World Cup, after being absent for a long time, this team went a long way to reassess football in Colombia," Pekerman told reporters.
"We showed we have very talented players and we always competed with a significant spirit and we showed we came to play a wonderful World Cup and not just participate."
Despite his high spirits, the Argentinian was still raw over the defeat, which came about following a thoroughly-competitive clash in which Brazil committed 31 of the total of 54 fouls.
"This was a match in which we were going to have balance, and when you have good players on both sides, what happens is you create friction because of the competitiveness. Each player wants to win their duels.
"It's not easy to lead such a game, the tension was very high. Brazil needed the win, we aspired to the victory, and in every play there was a lot of intensity. That interrupted the game.
"These are two teams that can develop very good football, but this balance sometimes produces that sort of thing.
"The first goal is always key and Brazil calmed down and were able to create better moments. Colombia lost that sense of play... we were surprised by the [opening] goal."
James Rodriguez struck his sixth goal of the competition in the clash, moving him two clear of Neymar and Lionel Messi in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Monaco midfielder has enjoyed a sensational tournament and has reportedly attracted interest from some of the best teams in the world, and Pekerman believes this is just the start of what is to come for the 22-year-old.
"The work of James during this World Cup has been excellent and for a long time we have expected this of him. He's an outstanding player and a huge talent - and he has ambitions," added Pekerman.
"He dreams of being able to continue to show what he can do - and also the team, which backed him. I tried to calm him down because personally he deserves a huge congratulations.
"He is to be commended because we enjoy the way he plays and I have no doubt that he will show in future he can be one of the best."