MOSCOW — Eight yellow cards. A head-butt. Yelling players surrounding the referee. Gamesmanship and spikiness across the pitch. Decided on a penalty shoot-out, the World Cup drama of England vs. Colombia would have been better without the ugliness. Among those who thought so: Colombia coach Jose Pekerman.
"When there are so, so many fouls and interruptions I think that's not good," he said. "We shouldn't only look at Colombian players. We should also look at England players."
Struggling at times to keep control of the game, American referee Mark Geiger dished out six yellow cards to Colombian players.
Four of them were in a particularly ill-disciplined 12-minute second-half spell that included Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez wrestling England striker Harry Kane to the ground on a set-piece in the penalty box. Kane scored from the spot.
The two England players cautioned were Jordan Henderson and Jesse Lingard.
"There were so many interruptions in the game, far too many interruptions," Pekerman said. "That hasn't been good for us. It's hurt our side a lot."
Wilmar Barrios got the first yellow card, after he butted his head into Henderson's chest and then his chin. The England midfielder fell to the ground theatrically.
England manager Gareth Southgate defended his players' behavior.
"If we were down, it was because we were fouled," he said.
"There were many, many fouls in the game and I don't think we conceded anywhere near the number of our opponents. ... I'm proud of the discipline. We kept our composure in a really difficult environment and we deserved to win."