Head coach Jose Nestor Pekerman praised his players efforts in the Colombian national team’s 3-0 win over Greece Saturday, saying that “Los Cafeteros” deserved to win.
The typically subdued Argentine said he was “happy, moved, and excited” by his team’s performance, in an interview with Colombia’s Caracol Radio on Saturday.
“I’m happy because it was the debut of Colombia after a long time against a tough opponent,” said Pekerman, adding, “I’m happy for the win and by the score that is extremely important for continuing on in the tournament.”
Pekerman could be seen throughout Saturday’s match with a look of calm-intensity on his face, even after his team scored early and went on to put up an additional two goals against an out-classed Greek side.
“I’ve always tried to be calm to infect the players, and I tried to convey to them all of my experiences,” said the head coach.
Pablo Armero opened scoring for Colombia in 5′, with a one-touch driven shot from the top of the box. Teofilo Gutierrez scored on a tap-in off of a corner kick in 58′, and James Rodriguez capped the game with a well-placed shot in the 92′.
Pekerman used all three of his subs Saturday, spacing out his changes to inject fresh energy into the field throughout a well-managed game for Los Cafeteros.
Coach Pekerman also expressed his pleasure at the remarkable turnout of more than 45,000 Colombian soccer fans who made the trek to Brazil to support their team.
“I am very touched and excited. To see the Colombian people in such large numbers gives us confidence. It’s a great motivation for us because they have always encouraged us,” said Pekerman.
Regarding the immediate future, the Argentine coach said, “We must learn fast for the next match against Cote d’Ivoire, which is one of the strongest African teams with an experienced staff (…) We’re going to have to maintain the same concentration as our squad is to face another great rival, in a very evenly matched group.”
Colombia will next square-off against Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday, before playing Japan on June 24. The Ivory Coast won its first game against Japan Saturday night 2-1.