Colombia’s second game was against Ivory Coast, and the victory means they’re going to the World Cup second round for the first time since 1990.
I decided to invite my friends out to watch the game at a bar called El Punto De La Playa in El Centro. Of course hardly any of my gringo friends went, they prefer the comforts of Parque Lleras, Poblado, Laureles and Envigado.
I live downtown and I love to watch games at the local bars. El Punto De La Playa is located on the corner of La Playa and Girardot.
Colombia had less shots on goal and less possession time, but they pulled off a 2 – 1 win over the Ivory Coast. The game started at 11 a.m. at the Estádio Nacional de Brasília, in the country’s capital city of Brasília.
Coach Jose Pekerman went with the same lineup as the previous game versus Greece. Before the game even started emotions where high.
When the Colombian national anthem played, people in the bar stood up and put their hand over their heart and sang. It is something that did not happen when we watched the game in Parque Lleras.
When the Ivory Coast national anthem played they panned over the players, who were all singing along, and as the camera panned over midfielder Serey Die (his actual name is Sereso Geoffroy Gonzaroua Die), he had tears streaming down his cheeks.
It was an indication of the passion these players where going to be playing with. It was a pretty awesome moment to witness.
The first half was nerve-wracking. Both teams created chances, but neither scored.
The clearest chance for Colombia came at the 5th minute of the game. James Rodrigues broke free from the Tiote and Gradel’s double team, made a gem of a pass to Teo Gutierrez who darted up the middle. Teo attempted to catch it one time with his right foot, but sliced it and the ball flew wide left.
In football soccer this type of miss-hit from a top striker, in the World Cup, is heavily criticized.
Colombia’s goal came at the 64th minute. Leading up to the goal Colombia was playing well. Touch passing and defending well.
On one of the attacks Colombia got a corner kick. The kick was to the near post, James Rodriguez caught it with his head and put it in the back of the net.
The place erupted, we were elated!
I love celebrating goals. It’s such a rush.
The game continued in the same way, Colombia’s rope-a-dope strategy was spot on. You cannot go blow for blow with a team like Ivory Coast, who will out run you. So sitting back and counter-striking is the way to go.
At the 70th minute, an Ivory Coast defender made a mistake and lost the ball, substitute, Juan Quintero turned his jets on and flashed into the box with the ball, struck it low and beat the goal keeper for the second goal.
Again the bar went wild. By this time my cell phone had died and I was not able to get video of the celebration.
After the second goal Colombia was cruising. They continued to sit back and let Ivory Coast come to them and at the 73rd minute Colombia’s defense was broken and Ivory Coast’s striker, Gervinho, scored. It was a hard-earned goal. From this point till the end Colombia defended well and held the lead.
The player of the game was James Rodriguez, but I would have to say that the player of the game could have been given to Carlos Sánchez, who had the difficult task of marking Ivory Coast’s star player Yaya Touré and did a phenomenal job.
Colombia vs Japan
Colombia plays Japan at 3 p.m. tomorrow, June 24. Winning this game would mean winning the group with 9 points.
In this game expect to see lineup changes. The change I am hoping to see the most is Fredy Guarín. I hope to see him play, he is a midfielder with a strong leg. Expect to see him play tomorrow.
Even if Colombia loses the game they likely will qualify first in the group. Ivory Coast would have to win its game, 3-0, while Colombia loses 1-0, in the most probable scenario.
Even then, Ivory Coast has just a 1.5-percent chance of winning the group, according to Nate Silver’s brilliant analytics.
As it stands Colombia likely will play either Italy or Uruguay in the first game of the World Cup second round.
I will be watching the next game at a different bar in a different part of town.
I love the World Cup and I love being here in Colombia. The country has a legitimate chance to win the World Cup and I will be right there cheering.