James blames ref for exit

World Cup poster boy James Rodriguez has blamed Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo for playing decisive role in ending Colombia's dreams.

A tearful Rodriguez extended his lead as the competition's top scorer with a penalty 10 minutes from time to register his sixth goal in five games.

However, by then the damage had already been done for Colombia as Brazil booked a semi-final meeting with Germany.

Rodriguez said: "I'm crying because we gave everything. Unfortunately, the referee didn't help much. Brazil are a good team but we gave everything so we are calm. We wanted to carry on, but we hold our heads high. Thank you Colombia."

"We fulfilled all the dreams we had ... It's a shame we have to go," added the Monaco playmaker, who was singled out for some rough treatment by the Brazilian players.

Manchester City's Fernandinho was particularly culpable as he hacked down Rodriguez three times in the first-half alone without being booked by Carballo.

"I think the referee influenced the game a lot, but that is how it is and we need to look forward."

Rodriguez became one of only 12 players to score in five consecutive World Cup matches, according to Fifa, and only two have made it six in a row.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman refused to lambast Carballo despite his apparent reluctance to clamp down on Brazil's roughhouse tactics as they committed 31 fouls throughout the 90 minutes.

"It was a match in which there was balance and very good players on both sides and when that happens it produces friction due to competitiveness because each player wants to win his individual battle."- Wire Services.

World Cup