Colombia were overtaken by Argentina in the South America World Cup qualifying standings last night after losing 3-0 to the Albiceleste.
In what is becoming a hotly-contested fight to finish in one of the four automatic qualifying spots, Colombia have picked an unfortunate time to go on a bad run.
They are winless in three and sit sixth in the table. And if their showing in Argentina is anything to go by, Jose Pekerman’s team will do well to reach Russia.
Colombia are blessed with some talented players, including David Ospina, Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao.
But they were undone by a virtuoso display from Lionel Messi, who scored a sublime free-kick and assisted Argentina’s second and third goals.
Colombia’s frustration was epitomised by James’ wild half-time outburst aimed at the referee, Roddy Zambrano.
The Real Madrid star waited for the officials in tunnel at the interval before losing it with Zambrano. In a video that you can see below, James aims a finger towards the ref and needs to be held back by a senior figure.
Colombia were outclassed by Messi
Already two goals down and with a yellow card to his name, James was clearly upset with some of Zambrano’s decisions.
But his protests fell on deaf ears, and blame for Colombia’s defeat doesn’t fall on the referee’s shoulders anyway.
Messi opened the scoring in the 10th minute and Pekerman believes the early goal punctuated his players.
“They scored the first goal and that strengthened them," he said, via Goal. "We started the game well and thought it was going to have another way. If it happened the other way around, Argentina also would've felt it.”
Falcao wasn't to blame
Colombia have failed to score in each of their past two qualifiers but Pekerman refused to blame Falcao.
“It's not been easy for us to find a goal," he added. "Falcao played a good game, always looked like scoring."