Football

James blames referee for Colombia's loss

Colombia's teary poster boy blames exit on referee as he tops scoring chart with six goals

QUARTER-FINAL

BRAZIL 2

(Thiago Silva 7, David Luiz 69)

COLOMBIA 1

(James Rodriguez 80-pen)

Colombia star James Rodriguez said referee Carlos Velasco Carballo did not help Colombia in a bruising 2-1 defeat by hosts Brazil, but the tournament's leading scorer was proud of his team who reached the quarter-finals for the first time.

"We fulfilled all the dreams we had... It's a shame we have to go," Rodriguez said this morning (Singapore time).

"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."

Brazil, leading 2-0 after defender David Luiz's stunning 69th-minute free- kick, appeared to be cruising into the semi-finals.

But Colombia, who have charmed the neutrals with their attacking football and carefree attitude, came roaring back and scored from the penalty spot after Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar brought down Carlos Bacca.

TOOK RESPONSIBILITY

Rodriguez took the responsibility for the spot-kick, netting his sixth goal of the World Cup but there will be no more at this tournament after Brazil clung on for victory.

Many observers felt that Rodriguez was not given sufficient protection after he was fouled repeatedly, and questioned the Spanish referee's decision to brandish a yellow card, and not a red, at Cesar for the foul.

Rodriguez, the poster boy of the World Cup who has eclipsed even home favourite Neymar with his scintillating skills and positive attitude, said he was proud of his team.

"Thank you Colombia, because you always had faith," he said.

"Unfortunately, we stop here, but we wanted to carry on. We're sad, but we also have to feel proud because we left our skin out there."

Before this morning's match, Rodriguez said that he would be interested in a move to La Liga in the future but is not so convinced about playing in the Premier League.

His impressive performances in Brazil have led to increased speculation about his future at club level.

Rodriguez joined Monaco from Porto in a £34-million ($72.6m) deal only in the summer of 2013 but he was previously linked with Manchester United and Chelsea, while Real Madrid have also shown interest.

PLAY IN SPAIN

The 22-year-old said in an earlier Q&A with adidas: "I have said in the past that I would like to play in Spain one day, because it is a league that is good technically and where you get a lot of touches on the ball, which is my style.

"The Premier League is maybe a bit physical at this stage.

"But I am a Monaco player and I am not thinking about anything like that at the moment. I am now just concentrating on Brazil, which is going to be a wonderful experience for us."

- Wire Services.

World Cup