MOSCOW • Colombia's efforts to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the second straight time were hampered by refereeing interruptions and constant calls from England's players for fouls in the South Americans' last-16 loss on penalties, said coach Jose Pekerman.
Colombia missed one penalty and saw another saved in the shoot-out to go down 4-3 after forcing the game to extra time, courtesy of a last-gasp equaliser by Yerry Mina that saw them level the scores at 1-1.
But Pekerman said the England players were demanding fouls which in his opinion were not justified, complaining to American referee Mark Geiger and affecting the flow of Colombia's game.
"There were many situations, as expected, and everybody knew the match would be like this and I think we have to try to defend football," the Argentinian coach said.
"We have to do something to protect football when situations arise. It is uncomfortable to play with such refereeing decisions.
"When there are so many fouls, that just cannot happen. We have to find ways to avoid that."
England went ahead with a 57th-minute Harry Kane penalty after the forward was wrestled to the ground, but Pekerman said England's players were constantly attempting to force decisions.
State Of Play
ROUND OF 16
Colombia 1 England 1 (after extra time, 90min: 1-1; England win 4-3 on penalties)
Uruguay v France, 10pm
Brazil v Belgium, Saturday, 2am
Sweden v England, 10pm
Russia v Croatia, Sunday, 2am
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"A player fakes a foul, they are trying to get the referee to book another player," he said.
"There is a lot of confusion with this type of play. All those situations are determining situations."
The game was bad-tempered and Geiger, at times, allowed players to get away with dissent. In total, six Colombia players were booked to England's two. The South Americans also committed 23 fouls while England were guilty of 13.
On social media, plenty of Colombian fans turned their ire on Geiger for the award of the penalty and the six yellow cards.
One mocking meme in particular showed male officials at the video assistant referee headquarters distracted by images of Colombian women in the crowd, instead of watching the game.
While it was a difficult match for Pekerman, he admitted that England had played well and that his team also failed to pose a greater threat in the area.
"They were a bit afraid. We did not use our football to create more danger," he said.
Colombia were also hampered by the absence of injured talisman James Rodriguez.
"One of our key players (Rodriguez) was not present... he was not in top shape," he said.