KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) --
Poland have lost any chance to qualify for the
knockout phase of World Cup after falling to Colombia 3-0 in
their second Group H match here in the Kazan Arena on Sunday.
James Rodriguez, who
only played as a second-half substitute in Colombia’s opening
match against Japan due to injury, was among the starters and
created the first and third goal against Poland on Sunday, by
giving well-placed chips to teammates Yerry Mina and Juan
Radamel Falcao scored Colombia’s second goal in the 70th
minute which was also the first World Cup goal for the Colombian
captain who missed Brazil 2014 due to injury.
The match had been a
must-win for both Colombia and Poland after their shocking
defeats in the opening round against Japan and Senegal
With both sides
fighting to score for the chance to survive, the first half was
full of stoppages due to collisions, and Colombia suffered a
blow when Abel Aguilar was forced off by an injury and Mateus
Uribe took his place in the 32nd minute.
The change, if
anything, seemed to have further boosted the Colombians’ morale,
with Juan Cuadrado making attempts at the goal from the right
flank at least twice in the next few minutes, giving the Poles a
The deadlock was
broken in the 40th minute when Mina jumped high and
nodded home a well-placed cross from James Rodriguez.
Maciej Rybus almost
levelled the score for Poland in the 45th minute but
the ball went over the bar.
sides, the Colombians emerged with more intents to attack and a
higher passing accuracy while the Polish were desperate to level
Falcao doubled the
lead for the South American side in the 70th minute
by blasting a low shot into the net past the diving Polish
goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Just five minutes
later, Juan Cuadrado, after meeting a pass from Rodriguez,
slotted the ball into the net calmly and sealed the victory for
“I think our players
really played their best until the very end of the game, but we
lost against a very strong team and this is what we have to
accept,” said Poland coach Adam Nawalka at a post-match press
“We used the maximum
potential that was available. We played in the offensive
setting, then we switched to the four defenders formation, we
introduced the second striker. Unfortunately, it was not
enough,” the coach said, adding that he took responsibility for
Colombia coach Jose
Pekerman said that both teams had been playing with the pressure
to win after their defeat in the opening round.
“Our team played as
a unit and the football emerged from this unity. It led to the
goals and now we have a good position in this World Cup,” the
68-year-old veteran coach said.
He added that his
players had been learning from the past defeat and had grown a
lot. “My players are self-critical, they are competitive, they
are ambitious. They can overcome the lows and they give us
hope,” he said.
This was the first
encounter of Poland and Colombia in a World Cup tournament.
According to FIFA, Poland is ranked 8th in the world,
while Colombia is ranked the 16th.
As Japan and Senegal
drew 2-2 in the other Group H match earlier on Sunday, the two
sides tie on four points while Colombia have three and Poland
are sent packing after two losses.
coach dedicates team’s victory to Sanchez
KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) --
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman dedicated his team’s
3-0 victory over Poland on Sunday to midfielder Carlos Sanchez,
who was sent off in their opening match against Japan and
received a death threat.
“This victory is
dedicated to Carlos Sanchez, who has had a hard time over the
past few days. I want to share this victory with him, and this
is something all our players feel,” said the 68-year-old.
Colombia had fallen
to a 2-1 defeat against Japan in their opening game, with
Sanchez expelled for a deliberate handball just three minutes
into the match.
Colombia said later that they were investigating a death threat
made against Sanchez on social media together with an image of
former player Andres Escobar, who was shot and killed days after
scoring a own goal and causing Colombia to lose a key game at
the 1994 World Cup.
Pekerman said the
troubled midfielder was deeply affected by the matter.
suspended for Sunday’s game against Poland but may be in line to
appear in his side’s decisive final group match against Senegal.
Pekerman said he was
confident his team would have what it takes to beat the African
“My players are
self-critical, they are competitive, they are ambitious. They
can overcome the lows and they give us hope,” said the Argentine
After Japan and
Senegal played out a 2-2 draw in the other Group H match on
Sunday, the two sides are level on four points. Colombia have
three points, with Poland already eliminated after zero points
from their two defeats.
Colombia will play
Senegal in their last group match on June 28, while Japan take
Falcao lives his World Cup dream as Colombia sparkle
By Sportswriter Michael Place KAZAN
Russia (Xinhua) -- Maybe Colombia
supporters knew what was coming as they cheerily sang and danced
to the rhythm of a Latin-flavored marching band outside Kazan
Arena before kickoff.
revelry was soon on display by fans inside the stadium as
Colombia put their World Cup campaign back on track with an
emphatic 3-0 victory over Poland on Sunday.
It was nothing less
than Colombia needed after a 2-1 loss to Japan in their opening
match of the tournament.
By no means have the
Cafeteros secured a place in the round of 16; they will likely
need to win their final group match against Senegal on Thursday
to do that.
Colombia resemble the effervescent side that reached the
quarterfinals in Brazil four years ago. And perhaps even a
It must be said that
Poland provided feeble opposition. It was revealing to hear
their talismanic striker Robert Lewandowski, who cut a forlorn
figure throughout the game, tell Polish TV afterwards that
“fighting is not enough to win World Cup matches when you don’t
Even so, there is
plenty for Colombia coach Jose Pekerman to be pleased about.
For a start, James
Rodriguez showed that he is no longer troubled by a calf problem
that forced him to begin the match against Japan on the bench.
The Bayern Munich
playmaker, who won the Golden Boot at the last World Cup, was at
his best here, laying off two sublime assists and providing the
midfield drive that was lacking in the tournament opener.
benched early against Japan in a sacrificial move after Carlos
Sanchez was sent off, also showed his worth. The Juventus
winger’s presence along the right flank posed a constant threat
to Poland’s defence and he was rewarded for his efforts by
scoring Colombia’s third goal.
considered lucky by some to have been included in Pekerman’s
squad, continued to vindicate the coach’s faith in him. The
River Plate midfielder followed up his impressive outing against
the Blue Samurai with another influential performance in an
advanced playmaking role alongside Rodriguez. His through pass
that set up Radamel Falcao for Colombia’s second goal was of the
Which brings us to
Falcao. The Monaco striker’s cool finish was his first World Cup
goal and the emotion-charged celebration that followed - as he
looked skyward before being mobbed by teammates - showed just
how much it meant to him. Falcao cruelly missed the 2014 World
Cup because of a serious knee injury and even Poland fans could
not have begrudged him his moment here.
second-half, television cameras repeatedly panned to former
Colombia stars Carlos Valderrama and Rene Higuita, all
high-fives and hugs in the stands.
One senses that
after a slow start here, the feel-good story of the 2014 World
Cup is about to acquire a new chapter.
fans cheer for team’s upcoming gam
KAZAN, Russia Russia (Xinhua) --
Dozens of Polish football fans gathered in
downtown Kazan Sunday afternoon, singing and drumming to cheer
for their national team’s upcoming game against Colombia later
in the day.
“We are making the
atmosphere warmer. It’s (already) warm here, but with this
(drumming and singing), it’s even warmer,” said Bawel, one of
the cheering fans.
came to Russia for his first World Cup. “I’m not a very big
football fan, but when there is a big event, when the Polish
team are playing, I’d like to join, to enjoy the whole
atmosphere,” he said.
Poland, ranked the 8th
in the world, suffered a shock defeat against Senegal in their
opening group match with an own goal earlier this week.
Bawel, like many
other Polish fans, was disappointed at the loss, but believes
that his team will achieve a victory in the next match and make
it to the knockout phase.
“In last game, the
guys were slipping a little bit. It was one of the worst games,
and I’m not the only one saying that. But maybe there is a
chance now to show we are better,” said Bawel.
“Now we have equal
chance with Colombia, either we lose or they lose today. It’s a
very important match for both of the two teams. But of course we
are going to win,” he added.
“Look at this
(cheering crowd). We are supporting our team, we are having fun.
I hope they (the team) will also be having fun playing. They are
putting a lot to it and will do better,” he said.
He added that he has
already bought the tickets of the round of 16 and the
quarterfinals to follow his team.
Bawel, coming to
Russia for the first time, also said he is enjoying his trip
here very much. He opened his trip in Saint Petersburg, and then
went to Moscow to watch the game against Senegal before coming
“Moscow is a very
metropolitan city, a huge city. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t
expect I would like it so much,” he said.
Poland will play
Colombia in their second group match Sunday night.