Colombia Victorious, Japan Wasteful- 19/06/14

Although for England fans the central focus was on their team’s match against Uruguay, there were still two other matches that had the potential to provide thrills and goals aplenty. Group C was the focus, with the teams at the top and the bottom going head to head. Colombia and the Ivory Coast faced-off, with both knowing that a win would be crucial for their hopes of progression. At the other end of the table, Japan and Greece played with the knowledge that a victory would keep alive the possibility of reaching the last 16, whilst a defeat would almost certainly end that dream.

Uruguay 2-1 England – Read Match Report Here

Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast

Colombia scored twice in a pulsating ten-minute period, and in doing so qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup. The first half though lacked any real spark, with neither team taking advantage of their chances, in a largely stop-start period. Teofilo Gutierrez should have done better despite not being flagged for being offside and Wilfred Bony then inexplicably failed to connect with a cross; in a largely dire performance he failed to touch the ball once in the opposition half. It was little wonder then that he was replaced with veteran striker Didier Drogba on the hour mark. Colombia looked dangerous though, and Juan Cuarado’s strike that was tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper was a warning to the Ivorian defence. But shortly after they took the lead when James Rodriguez scored from a powerful header, with the Cuarado the provider. The Ivory Coast nearly equalised but Aurier’s dangerous cross was punched away by Colombia’s keeper David Ospina before they shot themselves in the foot; Serey Die was caught in possession by Gutierrez, who passed to substitute Juan Quintero to slot in, which put Colombia in a strong position. The Elephants kept going though and were rewarded for their perseverance with a brilliant individual goal from Gervinho, who dribbled past three Colombian players before powering in a shot. However the Ivory Coast could not find the crucial equaliser and now face Greece in their final game knowing that a win would guarantee them progression.

Japan 0-0 Greece

Greece were hoping to forget about their dreadful 3-0 loss to Colombia with a win against Japan, who also lost their opening match. However, this match seemed destined to be another horrific scoreline for them when captain Konstantinos Katsouranis was sent off for two bookable offences with over 50 minutes remaining. Even before that, Japan were the team on top but were unable to take their chances; Keisuke Honda’s free kick was saved by the keeper whilst Yoshito Okubo headed over from a cross. The sending off seemed to have the opposite effect on Greece than what was expected, as they roared into life with Vaileios Torosidis having a couple of chances but unable to convert them as Japan held firm. As Greece tired towards the end of the match, Japan sent out wave upon wave of attack. However, as was the case time and time again in this match, they didn’t convert their chances. Greece will be happy with the point after spending the majority of the match with ten men, but anything other than a win for either team in their final matches will see them go out of the tournament.

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