Thursday, June 19, 2014

Columbia beat Cote D’ Ivoire 2-1 in 2014 Fifa World Cup

The match began balanced at a fast pace. Columbia counter-attacked after winning balls in midfield as Cote D’Ivoire carelessly lost possession. They very easily found spaces in the middle of the park and attacked the right flank with pace. They missed the best chance when Rodriguez fed Gutierrez from the right after the South Americans played a diagonal ball on stealing possession in their own half.

The Africans defence cleared the crosses from either wing efficiently. That was a bad sign of poor defensive behaviour as their wing backs failed to shut out the crosses. The wing defenders pushed too much up field and played in front of the ball. This exposed the spaces behind them and the Columbians exploited these spaces reasonably well by dropping long diagonal passes that stretched the central defence.

The distance between the midfield and the defence also increased the susceptibility to counter-attacks. Yaya Toure played too much in front of the action as much of the game was played behind him, nullifying his trademark runs from deep towards goal. As Cote D’Ivoire found spaces in their slow attacks, they squandered possession easily by atrocious decision-making. Ball retention was not at its best for both teams who appeared to be too cagey in their approach.

The match pace stepped up in the second half as Columbia sought to capitalise on the indecisive defensive shape of the Cote D’Ivoire who had their wing defenders up high and the central defenders playing far apart. In one swift move by Columbia, the two clashed and caused a corner kick. Rodriguez was unmarked and powered his free-header past a static Barry. There was no man-marking, no jumping and no pressure by the defence who were content ball-watching.

Prior to the goal, Bony Wilfred missed a gilt-edged opportunity that was followed by a clearer goal-scoring chance. As The Elephants pressed hard for looking parity, and got caught by a counter assisted by naïve defending. Serie Die was almost the last man in defence but tried a dribble. He lost the ball to Gutierrez who was stalking him. The Columbian raced towards goal creating a three versus one, and then unselfishly passed the ball to his right to Quintero who made no mistake.

Yaya Toure moved to his normal position and began to dictate the game. The impact was instant and visible as he tried to feed Didier Drogba, Gervinho and Salomon Kalou. The only moment The Elephants shifted a little faster on the right after winning the ball. Gervinho received the ball and quickly took off charging goal ward. He swept past four defenders and fired a parried shot into the net. The South American rear guard froze as the nibble-footed striker waltzed past them for a beautiful goal.

Despite the beauty of the show, the lack of discipline of the strategy; the tactical awareness, it was a bitter pill to swallow as Cote D’Ivoire carried the hopes of the continent after the disaster of that Cameroon embarrassment.