Just a few days after the World Cup Final friendly rematch between Argentina and Germany – which enabled the Argentines to take a little revenge on the world champions with a convincing 4-2 victory – came another friendly rematch from the World Cup: the quarter-final between Colombia and hosts Brazil.
This time it was Colombia looking for revenge, particularly in light of the poor refereeing in the first match that enabled Brazil to disrupt Colombia’s rhythm with a series of unpunished fouls, and the controversy over the disallowed Yepes goal.
Brazil won 1-0, denying Colombia any form of payback, though several players at least got some personal revenge with hacks at their opponents; this time the referee didn’t let the fouls go unpunished.
So could they at least be satisfied with the referee this time? Tampoco. After a highly entertaining end-to-end first half, the turning point of the game came just four minutes after the second half when one of Colombia’s best players up to that point, Juan Cuadrado, was given a second yellow card for a push on Brazil’s new captain Neymar.
Neymar emerged from this foul intact; nevertheless the referee punished Cuadrado heavily. From then on, the previously goalmouth-to-goalmouth game became more cagey, as Colombia closed ranks to try to compensate for being a man down.
Colombia defended stoutly in the second half and could have earned a draw were it not for a set-piece allowing Neymar to show his quality. In his first game for Brazil since Camilo Zuñiga’s clumsy challenge ended his World Cup, his curling free-kick into David Ospina’s top-left corner in the 83rd minute won the match. Colombia had no time to recover, though returning hero Falcao went close with a late header.
So while Colombians might still argue that Pekerman’s team has yet to face Brazil with an equitable referee, two defeats for Colombia leaves them rocked, despite the excellent performance in the World Cup.
Their skills will likely be tested again in next summer’s Copa America in Chile.
By Ally Brown