Falcao came, saw and conquered Bolivia

Colombia win first qualifying match while Arda's Turkey make it to Euro play-offs

Falcao decisive for Colombia(Clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Falcao decisive for Colombia

Nine Atlético players were called up for their national teams as World Cup qualifying started in South America, while in Europe the final group phase games were played for the upcoming European Championships in 2012.

There was heartbreak in Group A, where Thibaut Courtois‘ Belgium finished behind Arda Turan and his fellow Turks. Despite collecting 15 points, De Rode Duivels, where Courtois still waits for his debut, will miss Euro 2012.

Arda Turan started against Germany (1-3 loss) and Azerbaijan (1-0 victory) and now awaits one final hurdle. The draw for a play-off between eight runner-ups takes place tomorrow.

A possible opponent for Turkey is Portugal, who finished behind Denmark in Group H.

Right back Sílvio didn’t feature in Portugal’s game due to injury, which could be good news for Atleti as the extra rest may allow the 24-year-old to start against Granada, and perhaps even against Udinese a few days later.

The long term picture looks somewhat grim however, as the defender is almost certain to go under the knife at some point before the end of the season to resolve his groin issue.

Atlético coach Gregorio Manzano has reportedly experimented with Juanfran at right back in training the past few days, as Luis Perea hasn’t impressed in his backup role so far.

The Euro play-offs are scheduled for the 11th and 15th of November.

In South America, qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has already kicked off. Colombia sat out the first round, but made their debut on Tuesday.

Few teams are capable of winning in the high altitude of La Paz, capital of Bolivia, but a thrilling late strike by substitute Radamel Falcao got the Cafeteros’ Brazil 2014 campaign off to a roaring start.

Colombia coach Leonel Álvarez surprisingly left ‘El Tigre’ out of his starting formation, but brought him on with a little over ten minutes to go. In the 93rd minute Falcao scored the 2-1 match-winner, getting back to his old ways after failing to find the back of the net in Atleti’s last three games.

Luis Amaranto Perea was named captain of the Colombian side and was visibly emotional after leading his country to their first ever victory in Bolivia.

The defender couldn’t hold back his tears during a post-match interview.

The reigning champions of South America also played against La Verde. On Friday, Uruguay beat the Bolivians 4-2, with Diego Godín playing the full 90 minutes. The 25-year-old almost scored in the clash, but Diego Lugano got in front of him to knock in a free kick cross by Forlán.

Four days later, Godín donned the sky blue shirt again in Uruguay’s 1-1 draw with Paraguay. Former Rojiblanco Diego Forlán netted yet another goal for the Celeste and is now their all-time top scorer with 32 goals.

Eduardo Salvio came on in the second half of Argentina’s 4-1 home victory over Chile, but didn’t feature when the Albiceleste travelled to Venezuela and lost (1-0) for the first time in their history to La Vinotinto.

Back in Europe, Koke made his debut for Spain U21. He started in la Rojita’s 2-0 victory over Croatia and opened the scoring with a great goal in the 18th minute. A video of his all-round performance can be found here.

David de Gea started in goal for the Spaniards, while Joel took this his regular place on the bench.

  • palc

    Why did the victory mean so much for Perea?

  • 92

    Because it was Colombia’s first victory in Bolivia…

  • Diego Godín played 90 minutes against both Bolivia and Paraguay. In the game vs Bolivia he almost scored a goal after a freekick from Forlán, but Lugano slided in from behind and put the ball over the line into the empty goal…

  • Martin Rosenow

    Thanks Bobban, we’ve updated the report.

  • javi

    Koke needs playing time with Atleti. I would like to see him play instead of Gabi or Tiago.

  • 92

    Javi, I agree that Koke needs minutes, but don’t you think Gabi is an important player when he is on the pitch?, he is our leader in assists, his freeckicks and the corners he takes are very dangerous for the opposition, I also, would like Koke to have minutes but I think that Atleti relies heavily on Gabi, he’s our thermometer, so I don’t think benching Gabi and placing Koke instead is a good idea, but I do think Koke needs to play.

  • DJ_ZA

    I am soooooo happy that internationals are over (for now). This has been a really looooong 2 weeks of having to watch replays of Euro 2012 qualifiers over and over and over…
    I have to admit I was hoping Bosnia would finish ahead of France but as usual France had more than their fair share of luck. (Was it a penalty? or not?) In the end the only surprise was Estonia finishing ahead of Serbia & Slovenia to qualify for play-offs. (No, Portugal was not surprising – they’ve been rubbish in defence for years – no offence Silvio fans).
    WC 2014 qualifiers : My local broadcasters are not showing South American qualifiers!!!! (far more exciting than some of the meaningless Euro 2012 matches they’ve been showing, but time difference sucks). So watched on my trusty notebook. Didn’t watch Colombia (nice goal Falcao) – preferred Uruguay. That Forlan guy was quite good vs Bolivia but perhaps offside vs Paraguay – think he’d be interested in a move to Atleti as back-up for Falcao? (whahahaha).
    …. and now back to regular league *sigh of relief* – can’t wait to see your predictions for Granada match.

  • Javi

    Gabi has either good or bad games
    If he was consistent I would not touch him but he is not and koke really needs minutes so he has the opportunity to develop otherwise we will end up with a similar situation as Fran Merida, and both Fran and Koke have potential to be superstars
    Gabi can be good but I personally don’t see him having the same potential. Time will tell if I’m wrong

  • 92

    Well, yeah Gabi has been inconsistent but I feel like he has to be a starter, not only he is our captain but our leader, our assist leader and our designated dead ball situations taker, perhaps you are right that Koke should start instead and see how does the team works with Koke on the pitch, I’d like that lineup change, but is up to Manzano if Koke starts or not, and frankly, it seems Manzano doesn’t want to play Koke, and yes, Koke has a lot of potential and you are right, he needs to play games regularly. Let’s hope Manzano considers to start Koke as a starter and see how he (Koke) performs, because I really expect great things from Koke, and I would like him to become a legendary player with Atleti.

  • Ringo Schut

    Why not Koke next to Gabi and Diego close to them to stay a dominant midfield, but adding creativity?

  • Javi

    Ringo if you do that then Reyes is out
    Tough one to pick But it could work

  • Gert

    I’m wuth Ringo !

  • GS Fan 1905

    I don’t know if you guys heard, but, Turkish media are reporting that Arda has an injury and that he might be out for 2 weeks. 🙁

  • javi

    So there you have it, now we can play Ringo’s midfield lineup and keep Reyes in since Arda is out. lets see how they play together. Hopefully koke gets the start.