World Cup: Colombia coast past Ivorians into last 16

COLOMBIA 2 IVORY COAST 1

COLOMBIA strode into the World Cup’s last 16 yesterday after second-half goals from James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero earned a narrow victory over Ivory Coast in Brasilia.

All the goals came in a breathtaking nine-minute spell with former Arsenal winger Gervinho netting a consolation after Rodriguez and Quintero had done the damage.

Colombia named an unchanged team from the side that put Greece to the sword on Saturday, which included captain Mario Yepes earning his 100th cap.

Following a goalless first half, Colombia, ranked No8 in the world by governing body Fifa, broke the deadlock on 64 minutes when Monaco playmaker Rodriguez stole a march on his marker Didier Drogba to head in Juan Guillermo Cuadrado’s corner at the near post.

Six minutes later Ivory Coast proved the architects of their own downfall. Serey Die was caught in possession in his own half by Rodriguez, who played Teofilo Guiterrez into space, before Quintero slotted past advancing goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.

On 73 minutes the Ivorians gained a lifeline when Gervinho shook off three challenges before firing in at the near post.

But Colombia held firm to move to six points at the top of Group C with a final match against Japan to come.