Salvador (Brazil): Colombia laid down a statement of intent in their opening Copa America clash, defeating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-0 in coach Carlos Queiroz’s first competitive match in charge.
The 66-year-old handler has been quick to make his mark on a team that was knocked out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia at the last-16 stage.
The former Real Madrid coach, and assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, only took over the reins in February after leaving his job as Iran coach having just led the team to the Asian Cup semi-finals.
He was lauded by the Colombian press on Sunday for putting in place “the perfect plan,” according to El Tiempo, and ending a winless run against Argentina that had lasted more than 11 years.
Everything was “co-ordinated, functional, as if the most efficient watches weren’t Swiss but Portuguese,” the newspaper added in praise.
Queiroz himself had been delighted with what he saw, as Colombia defended solidly in a second half dominated by Argentina after being by far the better team in the first period.
Ironically, it was during Argentina’s ascendency that Colombia found the key to success, with Roger Martinez opening the scoring on 72 minutes and Duvan Zapata sealing victory three minutes from time. “We played with great team spirit. We showed a lot of character, which was constant through the match, with great tactical discipline and a lot of commitment,” said Queiroz....