Group C’s matches were spaced out on Saturday, with the two Group D games between them. Presumably, this was to air the Ivory Coast-Japan game during prime time for Brazil’s significant Japanese population. Every team in this group played to form, and the results were expected, if not predictable.
Radamel who? Colombia‘s performance was punctuated by an international coming-out party for James Rodriguez. The Monaco man ran his little heart out and scored a lovely left-footed poke at the end of the match. This game was also an example of what can go wrong with the current trend of having high-playing fullbacks/wingbacks. Greece‘s José Holebas was exposed on the left as he failed to track back, allowing Colombia to score early. Juan Cuadrado was brought in to flood the right and he did just that, setting up the first and third goals. Greece also missed some great chances, including a sitter by Theo Gekas who headed the ball off the crossbar. Colombia 3-0 Greece
The Ivory Coast went down early after Keisuke Honda’s cracker in the 13th minute. I watched this one in the pub, and the entire room gasped when he scored. But then Japan sat back and let the Elephants come at them. The key moment, though, was the entrance of Didier Drogba. The Ivory Coast captain sat while Wilfried Bony got the start. Playing Bony made sense, considering the two players’ respective league seasons. But Drogba’s introduction came at the expense of the holding midfielder, and now there were two strikers. Bony scored two minutes after Drogba came on; Gervinho scored two minutes after that. Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan