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Proved ourselves: Jose

Cuiaba: Colombia coach Jose Pekerman expects his unbeaten team to be tough opponents for Uruguay in the World Cup’s first knockout round, he said on Tuesday. Pekerman, a man of few emotions, took time to savour his side’s three wins and nine points to top Group C, a result few expected from the South Americans two weeks ago.

“Managing to win three games makes us trust ourselves even more,” the Argentine coach told reporters after a 4-1 hammering of Japan, who are heading home.

“We feel really confident. We have proved once again that Colombia are a very tight team. We think we will be difficult opponents for Uruguay,” he told during a media conference.

Meanwhile, Alberto Zaccheroni stepped down as Japan coach on Wednesday after taking full responsibility for their group stage exit from the World Cup.

Teams

Colombia: David Ospina (Faryd Mondragon, 85th); Santiago Arias, Carlos Valdes, Eder Balanta, Pablo Armero; Juan Cuadrado (Carlos Carbonero, 46th), Alexander Mejia, Fredy Guarin, Juan Quintero (James Rodriguez, 46th); Jackson Martinez, Adrian Ramos.

Japan: Eiji Kawashima; Atsuto Uchida, Maya Yoshida, Yasuyuki Konno, Yuto Nagatomo; Toshihiro Aoyama (Hotaru Yamaguchi, 62nd), Makoto Hasebe; Shinji Okazaki (Yoichiro Kakitani, 69th), Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa (Hiroshi Kiyotake, 85th), Yoshito Okubo

Man of the Match: Jackson Martin

Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)