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Colombia slides past Ivory Coast

Colombia’s James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Ivory Coast during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia on Thursday. (Reuters)

Colombia’s James Rodriguez celebrates scoring against Ivory Coast during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia on Thursday. (Reuters)

BRASILIA — Colombia seized control of World Cup Group C when goals from James Rodriguez and substitute Juan Quintero gave the South Americans a 2-1 win against Ivory Coast on Thursday.

The two nations, meeting for the first time, won their opening games against Greece and Japan respectively and Colombia’s success in an entertaining contest puts them on six points at the top of the group, with Ivory Coast on three.

The match only really came to life in the second half and Rodriguez broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when he beat substitute Didier Drogba to the ball at a corner and sent it arrowing into the net off goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.

Rodriguez dispossessed Serey Die six minutes later and Teofilo Gutierrez sent Quintero clear to finish coolly past Barry and send the thousands of yellow-clad Colombia supporters thronging the national stadium in Brasilia into ecstasy.

Gervinho, who also scored against Japan, pulled one back for the Africans in the 73rd minute but Colombia held firm to put one foot firmly in the last 16.

After a cagey opening few minutes in the giant arena in the Brazilian capital, Colombia started to push forward, with midfielder Juan Cuadrado at the heart of their attacks.

It was Cuadrado’s ball out to the left that released Rodriguez in the 28th minute but his fine cross was scuffed wide by striker Gutierrez unmarked in front of goal.

Ivory Coast had their first genuine chance three minutes later when lively fullback Serge Aurier cut inside his marker and his low shot forced a good save from Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

Ivory Coast talisman Drogba, who was introduced on the hour, was at fault for the opening goal and made little impact during the rest of the game.

After Colombia’s quickfire double and Gervinho’s response, Ivory Coast pressed hard for an equaliser, Salomon Kalou, another substitute, shooting straight at Ospina when well placed five minutes from time.

ENGLAND 2, URUGUAY 1: Uruguay striker Luis Suarez described his two-goal performance in Thursday’s 2-1 World Cup Group D win over England as a dream come true and said he had been fantasising about such a display.

“I’ve been thinking about this,” the man of the match told reporters at the Corinthians arena. “It was something I dreamed about happening quite a lot.”

Suarez scored with a clever first-half header and struck the winner five minutes from time with a trademark powerful shot to almost certainly eliminate England from the tournament.

“When I saw the ball I closed my eyes and kicked it for all the things I went through, for the people that supported me,” he said, his voice cracking. “And it went in.

“Nobody could have imagined a match like this,” the 27-year-old told reporters.

The controversial Liverpool striker had knee surgery last month and missed the opening game against Costa Rica, so he was also keen to pay tribute to his doctor Walter Ferreira.

“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here,” Suarez said.

Uruguay joined Italy and Costa Rica, who play on Friday, on three points at the top of the group.