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Sunday, 22 June 2003 17:18:41
MILAN - Nerazzurri defender Ivan Cordoba spoke to Inter.it ahead of Colombia's Confederations Cup clash with Japan (1):

After picking up two yellow cards you're suspended for tonight's match against Japan. How are you feeling ahead of this match?
"Unfortunately, I won't be able to play and be useful to my Colombia, but I will urge on my team-mates with all my strength."

Along with Japan you're second in Group A. Do you think they will create problems for you in this decisive match or are you confident Colombia will progress?
"This evening's match will be decisive for getting into the semi-finals. After their exploits in the last World Cup, Japan are no longer a surprise. They have confirmed they are a tough side to face, athletically they are well prepared and they are of a discrete technical level. It won't be easy and I don't like to make predictions, but we certainly have a chance of reaching the semi-finals."


Sunday, 22 June 2003 17:31:55
MILAN - Nerazzurri defender Ivan Cordoba spoke to Inter.it ahead of Colombia's Confederations Cup clash with Japan (2):

Are you and your team-mates excited to be playing in the Confederations Cup or does playing in half-empty stadiums demotivate you?
"It's quite a recent competition. It's true that the previous editions haven't been very successful in terms of the number of fans present, but you always want to do well when you go on to the pitch in your national team shirt."

You're the last Nerazzurri player to finish this season. Will this be a problem for you ahead of next season?
"Yes, I'll be the last to finish so I'll have less time than my team-mates to rest ahead of the upcoming season with Inter. But I don't think this will be a problem for me."


Sunday, 22 June 2003 23:33:53
ST. ETIENNE - Colombia are through to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup after beating Japan 1-0 in tonight's decisive Group A match.

Deprived of their captain Ivan Ramiro Cordoba who missed the clash through suspension, the South Americans dominated the match for large stretches and made sure of a place in the last four thanks to Giovanni Hernandez' effort in the 68th minute.

Group A runners-up Colombia will meet the winners of Group B - either Cameroon, Brazil or Turkey - in Thursday's semi-finals in Lyon.

inter.it :happy:


congrats to cordoba and colombia... :happy::cool::party:

4,119 Posts
Well Colombia is through. If this team could get some consistent scoring from someone. They would truly be dangerous.!!

What do you guys think, will it be an all-South American final??? :)

4,119 Posts
Cordoba sees bright future for Colombia

By Trevor Huggins

ST ETIENNE, France, June 23 (Reuters) - Captain Ivan Cordoba says Colombia are ready to open a new chapter in his country's footballing history after reaching the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Sunday's stirring 1-0 win over Japan in Group A, which Cordoba missed through a one-match suspension, marked a rare high point for Colombia on the international stage.

Their failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals seemed to underline the limitations of a team who arrived at this tournament without having scored a goal for more than a year.

But the promising squad in France, inspired by playmaker Giovanni Hernandez, scorer of Sunday's winner, will have answered some of their critics against Japan.

"It was a game where Colombia showed character, and a real desire to do well and to play the kind of good football we like to play," Cordoba told Reuters.

"And playing like this, obviously the chances of winning are greater."

Unsurprised by the underdogs' win, Cordoba said: "I expected it. We think we're a national side who can do things differently, that we can make a bit of history.

"This is an important group of players, who are united, and who want to achieve something.

"They've shown in these three matches what they want."


The last two games in particular have returned Colombia to the international spotlight after a fairly dismal spell.

Their 2001 Copa America triumph, as the host nation in a tournament whose value was eroded by Argentina's withdrawal, was also heavily outweighed by their failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

More recently, goalscoring has proved a particular problem for a side which aims to be both strong in the tackle and skilful with a neat passing game.

After finding the net in a 2-1 friendly loss to Mexico in May 2002, Colombia were beaten 1-0 by Honduras and had goalless draws with Mexico, South Korea, Honduras and Ecuador in their subsequent friendlies.

They opened at the Confederations Cup with a narrow 1-0 defeat by holders France and were trailing New Zealand 1-0 with 57 minutes gone of their second game before Jorge Lopez hit their first goal for 13 months.

Mario Yepes chipped in with a second and Hernandez rounded off a 3-1 victory which gave Francisco Maturana's side both victory and a huge psychological lift.

Cordoba is particularly enthusiastic about Herndandez, FIFA's man of the match in his last two games, and the architect of Colombia's attack as a classic number 10.

"He's a really great player," said the Inter Milan defender. "The press at times have been very hard on him, but he's been given another chance and has shown his worth as a player and as a person.

"I think this could be the starting point for something even better."

Cordoba will return for Thursday's semi-final in Lyon against the eventual winners of Group B, most likely Cameroon.

The African champions need only a draw against the twice-beaten United States on Monday to be sure of finishing ahead of Turkey and Brazil, who will contest the remaining semi-final slot on the same day.

A fine run at the Confederations Cup, against a number of somewhat experimental sides in an eight-nation tournament, will clearly do the Colombians a power of good.

But a more important task lies ahead for Cordoba, who warned his South American rivals: "Our long-term objective is to get to the World Cup finals in 2006."
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