Colombia down Japan

2014-06-25 00:26
Jackson Martinez

Cape Town - Colombia sealed their place in the World Cup last 16 on Tuesday following a 4-1 win over Japan, clinching top spot in group C.

As it happened: Japan v Colombia

Juan Cuadrado scored from the spot early on, but the two sides went into the break on level pegging after Shinji Okazaki's equaliser on the cusp of half-time.

The introduction of James Rodriguez after the interval made all the difference, though, as he provided Jackson Martinez with two assists, before scoring a lovely chipped effort of his own.

The match couldn't have got off to a worse start for the Samurai Blue, Yasuyuki Konno sliding in on Adrian Ramos in the area, Cuadrado finishing emphatically from the penalty spot.

Colombia should have been two goals to the good in the 40th minute, but Martinez dragged his effort just wide from 15 yards.

And just as the referee was preparing to blow his whistle for half-time, Okazaki sneaked in at the near post to head home the equaliser.

It took just ten minutes of the second half for Colombia to retake the lead, Martinez with a neat finish after a great run from Rodriguez.

Yoshito Okubo nearly had Japan level on 65 minutes, but he was unable to get his headed effort, from an Okazaki cross, on target.

After a sustained spell of attacking pressure from Japan, Colombia delivered the death blow, Rodriguez and Martinez combining again with the latter curling home his second from a tidy cushioned pass.

And Rodrigues would cap his terrific second-half cameo with a goal just eight minutes later, sending a delightful little chip over the goalkeeper from close range after being put through on goal by Martinez.

While Japan's tournament is over, Colombia head to the Maracana for a South American derby with Uruguay on Saturday.

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