Colombia edge Ivory Coast

Colombia

Colombia clinched a last 16 place at the World Cup after beating Ivory Coast to secure their second win from as many Group C games.

James Rodriguez headed in a near post corner and Juan Quintero slotted home after Serey Die was caught in possession to put Los Cafeteros 2-0 up.

But Gervinho skipped past three Colombia defenders and powered in a shot to give Ivory Coast hope.

The Ivorians exerted some late pressure but Colombia fended them off to win.

With Japan and Greece drawing 0-0 in the later game, the win means the South Americans have reached the knockout stages for the first time since 1990.

Ivory Coast, meanwhile, are still well-placed to reach the last 16 after their opening game win as they next face Greece.

Both sides could still face England in the next stage – should Roy Hodgson’s men manage to get through their group – and produced an enthralling game which sparked to life after the break.

Colombia had the greater attacking intent and Teofilo Gutierrez should have put them ahead. Replays showed the striker was marginally offside but he was not flagged and failed to capitalise when he horribly mistimed a side-footed effort from eight yards.

Still, he was faring better than Ivory Coast’s Wilfried Bony. The Swansea City striker failed to touch the ball in the opposition half, most glaringly when he failed to connect with two crosses when well-placed either side of half time.

It was little surprise when he was replaced by Didier Drogba.

Colombia, though, proved more potent. An acute angled Juan Cuadrado strike was tipped on to the face of the crossbar by keeper Boubacar Barry before the South Americans scored.

Rodriguez powerfully headed in a Cuadrado corner for his second goal of the tournament.

Ivory Coast responded when Serge Aurier’s cross almost sneaked in at the near post before being punched away by keeper David Ospina but the Elephants were the architects of their own downfall a few moments later.

Die was caught in possession and Gutierrez released substitute Quintero to slot in.

The Africans, who will be without makeshift centre-back Didier Zokora for their final group match against Greece after he picked up a second booking of the competition, raised themselves and reduced the deficit.

Gervinho cut into the Colombia box from the left flank and, after dancing past three tackles, drove in a shot.

The Ivorians pressed for an equaliser and Drogba was almost through on goal late on after a Mario Yepes mistake, only for keeper Ospina to rush out of his goal, clear the danger and ensure Colombia secured consecutive World Cup wins for the first time.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman:

“It is, of course, a huge pleasure to see Colombia coming to this level.

“First of all, we are at the World Cup after such a long period of time, and then having enjoyed consecutive victories with players who are here for the first time, so they are all very positive situations for us.

“However, we cannot start thinking ahead of time or what might be coming later on.”

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi:

“I am not obsessed with Didier Drogba. If you look at the team, I have seen very interesting things from my players.

“It is just a few details that we missed, and that meant we lost the game.”

He added: “My players did not deserve to lose, a draw would have been more deserved.

“It was a very experienced Colombian team who waited for us to make mistakes, unfortunately we made some and were hit in a hard way.”