José Pekerman

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Colombia coach Pekerman exits after 6 years and 2 World Cups

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) Colombia coach Jose Pekerman let his contract run out after six years and two World Cups with the team.

Pekerman’s deal ended last Friday, and the Argentine’s decision not to extend the contract was confirmed by Colombia Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun on Tuesday.

[ MORE: No more away goals rule? ]

Arturo Reyes was appointed as interim coach for friendlies on Friday against Venezuela then on Tuesday against Argentina. Both games are in the United States.

Pekerman led Colombia to its first World Cup in 16 years, in 2014 in Brazil, and the team reached the quarterfinals.

He qualified Colombia again for the World Cup in Russia, where they were knocked out in the round of 16 by England in a penalty shootout.

Jesurun said last week he hoped the 69-year-old Pekerman would lead the team’s effort to qualify for the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

“My Colombian daughter must be sad, but I leave with happiness for having people’s support,” Pekerman said after meeting with the federation.

“There has been a lot of damage to Colombia with all these rumors and conjectures. I said it when I arrived, we need to work together, support the national team to achieve great things. There is a hard path that has been walked and we need to keep up the great work.”

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2018 World Cup team preview: Colombia

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Getting to know Colombia: Quarterfinalists in Brazil behind an amazing tournament from James Rodriguez, Los Cafeteros face a much tougher road out of the group stage in their sixth World Cup.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

For more history on Colombia, click here.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 


What group are they in? Group H. Japan is probably the underdog of the bunch, with Poland, Colombia, and Senegal all capable of claiming top honors

Game schedule – Group H – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Tuesday, June 19: Colombia v Japan, Saransk 8 a.m. ET
Sunday, June 24: Poland v Colombia, Kazan 2 p.m. ET
Thursday, June 28: Senegal v Colombia, Samara 10 a.m. ET


Projected lineup (4-1-4-1) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Ospina —–

— Arias — D. Sanchez — Mina — Fabra —

— C. Sanchez —

— Cuadrado — James — Uribe — Bacca —

—- Falcao —-


Star player: James Rodriguez — On loan at Bayern, the soon-to-be 27-year-old reclaimed the form that got him from Monaco to Real Madrid. James posted seven goals and 11 assists in just 23 league matches this season, nearly on par with his 13 and 13 in 29 on La Liga debut at Real.


Manager: José Pékerman – The 68-year-old Argentine oversaw the fun run in 2014, and has thrice behind named the South American Coach of the Year.


Secret weapon: Yerry Mina — Barcelona’s 23-year-old center back got some playing time late in his first La Liga season


Prediction: Will battle to advance, and needs to make its statement with an opening win over Japan. Failing that, they are out early. In its last three matches, however, Los Cafeteros have beaten France and shutout Egypt and Australia. Colombia just might push through, and is a nightmare in a one-off situation.

Preview: USMNT faces uphill battle in Copa America opener against Colombia

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  • The USMNT and Colombia open Group A play Friday in Santa Clara
  • The United States last beat Colombia in 2005
  • 2 of 3 US wins vs. Colombia have come in California

After a successful pre-tournament run of friendlies, the United States is ready to make noise in the Copa America Centenario.

We think.

While the squad seems stronger than ever and the vibes have shifted to a positive nature, there are still plenty of unknowns as Jurgen Klinsmann leads the United States as hosts of the celebratory event.

[ MORE: PST predicts the group stage ]

The problem is the competition has also never been stronger.

Motivations of varying degrees will push each opponent beyond the feeling of a lesser importance on this year’s edition of the Copa America, and the United States will begin with as tough a test as possible. Pushed by both their moderate success in the 2014 World Cup and their failures in last summer’s tournament, Colombia – ranked fourth in the world by FIFA and undefeated in 2016 – will be as stiff a test as any.

A feeling of uneasiness for the United States mostly stems from Klinsmann’s team selections. A number of attacking players distinguished themselves during the pre-tournament friendlies, and the 4-3-3 system seemed to be a positive change, but does the fanbase really trust Klinsmann to implement what worked against Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Bolivia? It still feels reasonable to expect the German to revert to the comfort of a 4-4-2 when the games matter, abandoning the recent signs of life.

[ MORE: PST Roundtable regarding Klinsmann at the Copa America ]

Will Darlington Nagbe or Christian Pulisic start? Will Michael Bradley sit deep or push forward? Which system will he employ? It has the feel of change, and yet as history has taught us, none can ever be too sure of predicting a Jurgen Klinsmann starting lineup.

What is certain is the expected nature of play the United States will face. Colombia manager Jose Pekerman encourages a heavily physical style of play, and expect Los Cafeteros to batter and bruise the US players while still looking good doing it. James Rodriguez is a brilliant and dangerous playmaker despite a down season with Real Madrid, and he will take center stage, aided by the flashy nature of Juan Cuadrado. Carlos Bacca is the target man in front of goal, while Daniel Torres will be tasked with breaking things up in the middle of the park.

What they’re saying

US Manager Jurgen Klinsmann on his squad – “They want to show the soccer world that we are ready here to compete. Obviously we want to do well, we want to get as far as we can in the tournament, but we want to showcase our game to the rest of the world because down the road we would like to host a World Cup again.”

Colombia manager Jose Pekerman on an injection of youth – “The door remains open for everybody else, but I want to try to consolidate this new project. I now have a team that is fresh, renovated and optimistic.”

Prediction

A lot of this rests on the shoulders of Jurgen Klinsmann. If he utilizes what worked in the warm up matches, the squad can muster a hard-fought draw, with a 1-1 scoreline fair. However, if the U.S. manager decides to revert back to old habits, Colombia can sit on the ball and pick the 4-4-2 apart. This match has a wide variety of possible outcomes, but if Klinsmann does his part, the players will reward him with a valuable point. Should the U.S. muster something in its opener, qualification for the knockout stage might be firmly in their grasp.

Squads

United States – Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK); Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur); Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund); Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy).

Colombia – Cristian Bonilla (Atletico Nacional), David Ospina (Arsenal), Robinson Zapata (Santa Fe); Felipe Aguilar (Atletico Nacional), Santiago Arias (PSV), Farid Diaz (Atletico Nacional), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Stefan Medina (Pachuca), Jeison Murillo (Inter Milan), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan); Edwin Cardona (Monterrey), Guillermo Celis (Junior), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus), Sebastian Perez (Atletico Nacional), Andres Felipe Roa (Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Carlos Sanchez (Aston Villa), Daniel Torres (Independiente Medellin); Carlos Bacca (AC Milan), Roger Martinez (Racing Club), Marlos Moreno (Atletico Nacional), Dayro Moreno (Club Tijuana)

Colombia beats Brazil for first time since 1991, Neymar sees “mysterious” red card (video)

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Brazil may’ve lost much more than the game. It may’ve lost its talisman.

Neymar was given a red card as he was hustled down the tunnel after a post-whistle fracas in Brazil’s 1-0 loss to Colombia at the Copa America in Chile on Wednesday.

Brazil’s star attacker was grabbed around the shoulder and whisked down the hallway along with Angel Miranda while a red card was brandished by referee Enrique Osses. Also given a red card at the death was Carlos Bacca of Colombia.

[ MORE: 2015 Copa America news ]

The incident offsets a much bigger occurrence, as Colombia offset its tournament-opening loss to Venezuela by earning its first win over Brazil since the 1991 Copa America.

That covers 13 matches, eight of which were Brazil victories. So suffice it to say Colombia coach Jose Pekerman is a pretty popular man scant few days after he was incredibly unpopular.

New Inter Milan back Jeison Murillo scored the winner. See it, and the Neymar red, below.

Benfica boss says he’s FIFA Coach of the Year material; Five more names

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Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has been around the block; The reigning Portuguese coach of the year lifted his club to a league title last season, and he thinks that qualifies him for FIFA Coach of the Year more than some of nominees on FIFA’s shortlist.

To recap, FIFA has 10 names on its shortlist for Coach of the Year. Some, like the Netherlands’ Louis van Gaal and USMNT’s Jurgen Klinsmann, did not win a single title last year.

[ MORE: MLS awards Los Angeles a 2nd club ]

Jesus did. In fact he won three, nearly four. And he’s not happy. Come to think of it, we can think of a few nominees ourselves, but first Jesus’ thoughts.

From the BBC:

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus believes he should have been on Fifa’s Coach of the Year shortlist for masterminding the Portuguese club’s domestic treble.

Jesus, 60, also steered Benfica to the Europa League final in 2013-14 before losing 4-2 to Sevilla on penalties.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who is on the 10-strong list, did not win anything last season.

“Some weren’t in the European finals, some weren’t even domestic champions,” said Jesus.

He makes a fairly compelling case. We can think of several compelling names who didn’t make FIFA’s cut.

So, here are 10 names not on FIFA’s shortlist that probably deserve a high-five or two:

Jorge Luis Pinto, Costa Rica — Are you kidding us? Pinto’s Costa Rican squad backed up its 2013 Copa Centroamericano title by defeating Uruguay, Italy and Greece at the World Cup and drawing England before bowing out to the Netherlands on penalties. How he’s not on the list is a head-scratcher.

Jose Pekerman, Colombia — Probably should’ve been the manager who knocked Brazil out of the World Cup, but that’s a story for another time. Without Radamel Falcao, Pekerman led Los Cafeteros to a World Cup quarterfinal on wins over Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan and Uruguay before bowing out to the hosts.

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool — The Reds boss led Liverpool back into Europe via an exciting brand of football. No, he didn’t have the added responsibility of European football nor did he win a domestic Cup, but there’s no doubt that he’s the best club boss left off this list from UEFA’s top-rated league.

Rafa Benitez, Napoli —  The ex-Liverpool boss led to third place in Italy and the Round of 16 in the Europa League after nearly navigating a Group of Death in the UEFA Champions League, finishing third to Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund only on goal differential.

Luis Fernando Tena, Cruz Azul — The CONCACAF Champions League winning manager didn’t fare as well in Liga MX play, but surely it’s worth a nod to Mexico’s continental-winning club.