Pekerman: Colombia have earned world's respect


Colombia coach Jose Pekerman believes the nation have earned the respect of teams worldwide as they prepare for a Copa America Centenario quarter-final against Peru.

Pekerman led his team to the last eight at the World Cup in 2014 and Copa quarter-finals in Chile last year, and they are looking to go a step further.

The Argentinean feels Colombia have impressed with their style and are now hugely respected by other nations as they eye a first Copa crown since 2001.

"During these past years, Colombia have showed an important level and have gained the respect of all the national teams in the world," Pekerman said.

"Colombia have set up at a place where they haven't been for a long time and that was possible by been the protagonist, by having a clear idea of how to compete in order to win and never stop attacking.

"Colombia always tried to find in the capabilities of his players, the freedom to play in a responsible way and with efficiency and with balance.

"We have always mentioned those three words: balance, efficiency and audacity. And try to play good football.

"Under this criteria, we are driven in any circumstance - qualifying, World Cup, friendly or in the Copa America."

A much-changed Colombia suffered a 3-2 loss to Costa Rica in their final Group A game, seeing them finish second to hosts the United States.

Pekerman said it would be important for his side to be able to adapt to different situations against Ricardo Gareca's men.

"Each match has different situations, so if we try to previously predict what is going to happen, then it won't be football anymore," he said.

"The most beautiful thing about the game is to resolve the situations that show up and he have to prepare ourselves for that.

"Because of that it is an attractive match: both teams have good players, work hard and are able to modify their tactics. Both teams are flexible and that makes the game very interesting."