Jun 15, 2014; Natal, BRAZIL; A USA soccer fan holds a replica World Cup trophy at the FIFA fan fest party at FanHQ Natal prior to tomorrows match against Ghana. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Get used to hearing James Rodriguez’s name in the years to come. This young midfielder from AS Monaco has been one of the shining stars of this FIFA World Cup, scoring a goal and two assists as Jose Pekerman’s Colombia sent Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan packing in a 4-1 rout at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil. With the win, Colombia top Group C in the 2011 FIFA World Cup Brazil with the full nine points and joing Greece in the Round of 16.
Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings, for the match between Japan and Colombia.
1. Japan pressure early
Early on in the first half, Japan went off the bat hot like iron. A shot from Keisuke Honda from outside the box is blocked in the seventh minute. Yoshito Okubo had a shot from the center of the box miss to the right in the ninth minute and another shot from outside of the box miss to the left in the 10th minute of play. Atsuto Uchida had a right-footed shot from outside of the box blocked in the 14th minute. In the 15th minute, Makoto Hasebe had a right footed shut from outside of the box saved in the center of goal in the 15th minute.
2. Cuadrado makes it 1-0 Colombia
Yasuyuki Konno fouled Adrian Ramos in the box in the 16th minute and received a yellow for his troubles. That allowed Colombia midfielder Juan Guillermo Cuadrado to open up his goalscoring account from the spot in the 17th minute to make it 1-0 Colombia. Still, Japan continued to press. Keisuke Honda had a left-footed shot from outside of the box blocked in the 23rd minute. In the 26th minute, Shinji Kagawa has a right-footed shot saved by David Ospina and another one miss to the right, while Maya Yoshida had a left-footed shot blocked.
3. Okazaki draws the match all square
Honda’s tough afternoon continued when he has a left-footed shot from outside the box miss to the right off a free kick in the 33rd minute of play. Okubo tried a bicycle kick in the 36th minute but that was speculative at best. Colombia’s Juan Quintero had one of the few chances for Los Cafeteros miss wide right in the 38th minute. Kagawa had another shot blocked in the 40th minute. Colombia’s Jackson Martinez had an attempt from the center of the box miss to the left in the 42nd minute. In the first minute of first hald stoppage time, Okazaki delivered a sweet backheel goal to put the scores even a 1-1. Toshiro Aoyama could have made it 2-1 but it was blocked.
First Half Team Statistics
Japan on left, Colombia on right
14 Shots 3
3 Shots on Target 1
5 Shots off Target 2
6 Blocked Shots 0
6 Corners 0
13 Crosses 3
0 Offsides 0
3 Fouls 11
1 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
225 Total Passes 130
80 % Passing Accuracy 68 %
63.7 % Possession 36.3 %
28 Duels Won 16
5 Tackles Won 6
0 Saves 2
12 Clearances 18
4. Colombia ramp up the attack and Martinez delivers
At the break, Cuadrado came out for midfielder Carlos Carbonero and trigger man James Rodriguez came in for Juan Quintero. Rodriguez was hot off the bat, with a left-footed shot from outside the box blocked in the 50th minute. Adrian Ramos had another attempt from the center of the box blocked. Ramos was offsides on a through ball seconds later, and in the 51st minute, a through ball from Ramos himself found Martinez but he was also offsides.
The aforementioned Carbonero had a shot from close range miss high and wide right in the 54th minute off a Rodriguez set piece. Martinez finally got on goal in the 55th minute off a feed from Rodriguez to make it 2-1 Colombia. With plenty of time and space, Martinez made no mistake in firing one from close range past Eiji Kawashima. In the 58th minute, a chance from Kagawa missed high and wide to the left.
5. Desperate times for Japan
This match was going to be wide-open after that Martinez goal. In the 62nd minute, midfielder Hotaru Yamaguchi came in for Aoyama. Colombia midfielder Fredy Guarin was cautioned for a foul on Kagawa in the 63rd minute. Honda continued his coldstreak with a shot saved by Ospina in the 64th minute of play off a set piece. Okubo had a right-footed shot from the center of the box miss high and out in the 65th minute of play.
Japan forward Yoichiro Kakitani came in for Okazaki in the 69th minute of play. In that same minute, Kagawa had a left-footed shot from outside of the box blocked. Rodriguez and Martinez had shots blocked and miss to the right in the 72nd minute of play. In the 74th minute, a right-footed shot from outside of the box from Yasuyuki Konno was saved in the center of the goal.
6. Martinez, Rodriguez reads last rites as Mondragon enters last hurrah
With the Ivory Coast equalizing, the prospects for Japan were beginning to dim. An attempt from Yuto Nagatomo in the 77th minute was saved by Ospina. In the 82nd minute, Rodriguez and Carbonero teamed up to give Martinez his brace and slam the door shut on Japan. Martinez was in a 1-v-1 with Kawashima and slotted a shot past him and two Japan defenders that could not clear the ball in time and get back on the transition.
In the 84th minute, Kagawa has yet another shot miss, this time wide right off a Makoto Hasebe through ball. Midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake came in for Kawagawa in the 85th minute and former Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon came in for Ospina in that same minute. At the age of 43, Mondragon becomes the oldest active player in this FIFA World Cup. Colombia’s Santiago Arias had an attempt from outside of the box sail too high in the 89th minute of play. Rodriguez, as mentioned in the Bold Predictions, scored in the second half, in the 90th minute to add icing on the cake, and once again it was a 1-v-1 with Kawashima that sunk Japan’s World Cup dreams and put Alberto Zaccheroni’s future as the Samurai Blues manager in unforgivably dire straits.
Japan on left, Colombia on right
|Shots on Target
|Shots off Target
Japan Player Ratings
Eiji Kawashima 1, Atsuto Uchida 2, Maya Yoshida 2, Yasuyuki Konno 1.5, Yuto Nagatomo 2, Keisuke Honda 3, Makoto Hasebe 3, Shinji Kagawa 3, Shinji Okazaki 5, Toshiro Aoyama 3, Yoshito Okubo 3, Yoichiro Kakitani 2, Hotaru Yamaguchi 2, Hiroshi Kiyotake NR
Colombia Player Ratings
David Ospina 7, Carlos Valdes 7, Eder Balanta 7, Pablo Armero 7, Santiago Arias 7, Alexander Mejia 6, Fredy Guarin 5.5, Jackson Martinez 9, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado 8, Juan Quintero 7, Adrian Ramos 8, James Rodriguez 10, Carlos Carbonero 8, Faryd Mondragon NR