José Pékerman's World Cup Diary: Hasta La Vista

The Colombia coach holds back the tears as he writes for the JC one last time*

July 04, 2018 11:08

Greetings my friends in Inglaterra.

Today is a day un poco sad para mi and my boys as we pack our bags to return home. Many thought it impossible that a team from a poor country with a drugs and violent crime crisis could possibly triumph against Colombia but last night it happened, ironicamente on the penalty shoot out.

I have to say I was muy worried even before the game begin. For days on end I davened for the fitness of our own Golden Bolas James Rodrigues. There was some good news – nearly all of James was fit and ready to play but unfortunado one calf was hurt real bad.

We tried everything – ice, ultrasound, candles, rum, but it was no good, the boy could not start. I was also worried about the win of Sweden against Switzerland. With Brazil already qualified what were the odds of three quarter finalists out of eight wearing yellow shirts?

Through the first half I hear from my compadres in Inglaterra that I was being harshly criticised on TV and radio. This I have never minded. If people don’t like the fact that I wear trainers with my suit, is their problem no?

There is also talk that my players are un poco dirty and complain too much to the ref. To this I say that if you appoint an Argentinian as head coach there is going to be, how you say, a little friction when his team plays Inglaterra.

For this match I channelled my inner Maradona. Ok we give away a penalty when the Americano referee mistook a legitimado tackle in the box on Kane for a WWE full body slam, but anyone can make errors. And sure enough in the 94th minute we claim the equalising gol -this time not the hand of Hashem but the head of Mina.

In one way I am pleased. I felt the tension during the penalty shoot out was causing mucho stress to mi corazon. I am not sure whether at my age I should put myself through this.

But it is tough for me to write my sad lament in the JC when I know that as I record my remarks most of my readers are, how you say, the worse for drink, dancing the conga around Golders Green, Radlett and Prestwich.

However I am proud of the efforts of my players and staff. I have eaten perhaps a little too much borscht and overdone it with the samovar on occasion so now is the time for us to fly to Bogota and try to forget.

In time our spirits will heal as will the calf of James Rodrigues. Para mi there will be no open air Shakira concert or dinner with El Presidente but I do have an autographed shirt of Harry Kane.

If he goes on to win the golden boot in this tournament it will go on ebay muy rapido.

For now I say hasta luego mis amigos.

*As imagined by a JC reporter

July 04, 2018 11:08

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