World

Yellow cards force Colombia coach to approach final group game with caution

PERTH : Group leaders Colombia may have one foot in the Women’s World Cup knockout stages but on Wednesday coach Nelson Abadia warned his squad will have to play with caution to avoid the risk of losing booked players to suspension for the next game.

Five Colombian players were booked in their wins over South Korea and Germany. Players who receive two yellow cards before the quarter-finals will be suspended for the team’s next match in the tournament.

After upsetting the Koreans and the Germans, who are both ranked above Colombia, Abadia said expectations on the South American side are ‘huge’ but he urged his players to be careful in their upcoming game against Morocco.

“I have five players who have yellow cards, so we need to be really smart,” said Abadia, who was suspended for Colombia’s first two games.

“We need to be cautious and smart in terms of managing this. So we will really ponder what we will need to do.

“In any case, I brought 23 amazing players from the country. When we need them, they will do what they need to do and we’ve seen it in different matches. They will contribute to what the team wants.”

Colombia need only a draw to advance as group toppers but Abadia said they would step on to the pitch seeking all three points.

“I’m always trying to win going into a match… When you try and get a win, you might get a draw. When you try to get a draw, then you might actually lose,” he said.

“Morocco need this win (to qualify)… This is a team that bases its attack on quick transitions and direct counter-attacks. We have been working on that, the group knows this.”

Abadia also dismissed reports Colombian teenager Linda Caicedo had been taken to the hospital after collapsing last week and going down again when playing Germany, saying she had the all-clear after x-rays revealed nothing wrong.

“I was a little bit concerned (about a media report) because it said that Linda was taken to hospital and I was like, ‘Oh my God’. But she’s here training with us,” he added.

“We’re always very careful in terms of players’ health. Even if their hair hurts, I’ll call a hairdresser!”

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