This clash pitted two contrasting styles with Japan employing a patient possession game while Colombia continued with a more direct game-plan, which focussed getting the ball forward quickly and using their considerable pace. Throughout the first half, Japan enjoyed long periods of possession just as they did in their previous group matches but most of which was had outside of areas capable of giving the Colombian defence any real problems. They were guilty of overplaying on occasions and were left to rue their lack of penetration. However, they stuck to their guns and were rewarded right on the stroke of half time, working the ball down the left before drawing level and giving themselves a sniff at extending their stay in Brazil.
Fayrd Madragon became the oldest player to represent his country at the World Cup, beating Roger Milla’s record. Aged 43 the goalkeeper was on the bench at the World Cup in 1994 and started all three of his sides matches at the 1998 World Cup in France.
Having shown himself to be a world class talent on the World stage in Colombia’s previous two matches, Rodriguez again showed his immense ability but this time off the bench. His side had a fairly sluggish first half and were transformed by his entrance at half time, running at the Japanese backline and creating chances within minutes of the restart. Just 10 minutes into the second half and Colombia were back in front, Rodriguez drawing the attention of three Japanese defenders before slotting a perfect pass into Jackson Martinez to score.
With James Rodriguez grabbing headlines and praise for his performances another young Colombian caught the eye in their victory over Japan. Eder Alvarez Balanta has been making waves with River Plate and super agent Jorge Mendes has already bought a share in the rights to the young centre back and on this showing you can see why. Believed to be attracting attention from Barcelona the defender dominated both in the air and on the ground with a confident and powerful display.
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