Three minutes. That’s all it took for the tenor of this game to be inverted completely.
When the outstretched arm of Carlos Sanchez connected with the ball in the box, there was very little doubt that things were going to get interesting. When the referee, Damir Skomina, brandished a red card, though, the prospect of a Japanese win became palpable.
The penalty scored by Shinji Kagawa, the question on everyone’s lips was: will they be able to hang on?
The answer, it transpired, was no: Radamel Falcao winning his team a free kick which Juan Quintero calmly slotted away beneath the wall.
As time went on, however, the extra-player advantage began to count and, when Yuya Osako powered home a corner with fifteen minutes to go, the Japanese never looked back.
Here are RealSport’s player ratings from the game.
David Ospina – 5/10
Very little he could do to change the result with the penalty and winning header hardly attributable to him (despite his positioning) but the Colombian goalkeeper still looks somewhat tentative between the posts.
Johan Mojica – 7/10
The brightest of Colombia’s back line, Mojica combined well with Jose Izquierdo on the left and managed to maraud as deep into the opposition box as he could afford.
Oscar Murillo – 6/10
A relatively anonymous performance, Murillo had very little to do and will have been disappointed to have had his chance to shine ahead of Yerry Mina somewhat tainted by the Sanchez red card.
Davinson Sanchez – 6/10
Making a mistake in the build-up to the Carlos Sanchez red card, Davinson Sanchez settled into the game during the first half. With Colombia sitting deeper in the second half, the Spurs centre back had less to do but still stayed neat and tidy.
Santiago Arias – 6/10
Tasked with covering the right flank after Juan Cuadrado was brought off on the 31st minute, Arias was hardly to blame if he looked shaky at times. All things considered, he had a good performance.
Carlos Sanchez – 2/10
While he was perhaps unlucky to be sent off for his handball, with replays suggesting it wasn’t intentional, Sanchez mistake inevitably cost Colombia. He’ll be annoyed to have been in the situation he found himself through his teammates poor defending but that could be his World Cup over with only three minutes played.
Jose Izquierdo – 7/10
Another bright spark on the Colombian left, Izquierdo looked assured at this level but wasn’t able to express himself properly given the fact his team were down to ten men for almost the full game. He may have been happy to be subbed off on the 70th minute.
Juan Quintero – 7/10
His free kick was well taken – slotting the ball under the wall to deceive Eiji Kawashima – but the game quickly got away from the River Plate player who spent the season at Porto. With James Rodriguez rested, he could have perhaps done more to impress his coach.
Juan Cuadrado – 7/10
He popped and fizzed for his brief thirty-minute cameo but, once Carlos Sanchez had received his orders, his minutes were numbered.
Radamel Falcao – 6/10
All eyes were on the Colombian talisman for this opening fixture but, in the event, he was ultimately disappointing. While he won the free kick for the Colombian goal, he did precious little else.
Wilmar Barrios – 7/10
Spurs fans will be happy to see new signing Barrios, who came on after 30 minutes, performing well in a Colombian shirt. It was, though, a game that suited him, allowing him to sit deep in front of the defence and break down the Japanese attack.
James Rodriguez – 6/10
While it might not have been the stage he wanted to see set for his return to World Cup action, it was certainly a stage. In the end, he brought very little to the game – unsurprising for a player only recently returned from injury.
Carlos Bacca – 6/10
Too little, too late for Colombia, Bacca had very little chance to impact the game and failed to impress in his brief moments on the ball.
Eiji Kawashima – 5/10
Arguably at fault for the Colombian goal, Kawashima had very little else to do thanks to Carlos Sanchez.
Yuto Nagatomo – 6/10
One of the elder statesmen of the game, Nagatomo did well to bustle down the left flank in the first half before sitting a little deeper in the second.
Gen Shoji – 6/10
Without much in the way of Colombian attack, Shoji looked comfortable for most of the game. There were, however, a couple of scares here and there which will have left the centre back relieved that they weren’t converted.
Maya Yoshida – 7/10
Defensively solid, Yoshida also offered a threat from set pieces, coming close to scoring from a corner in the first half.
Hiroki Sakai – 7/10
While he isn’t the strongest player on the ball, Hiroki Sakai was able to push forward deep into the Colombian half in the second half, producing a number of chances and coming close to scoring himself.
Makoto Hasebe – 8/10
The man advantage that Japan enjoyed for almost the whole game opened up a lot of space in the midfield areas which suited Hasebe perfectly. The control that Japan enjoyed for the majority of the second half was down to him.
Gaku Shibasaki – 7/10
Again, the lack of pressure in the midfield area meant that Shibasaki thrived next to Hasebe. While he wasn’t quite as pivotal, he played well sitting slightly behind his teammate.
Takashi Inui – 7/10
Dangerous at times, Inui came close to scoring on a couple of occasions and made himself a nuisance for the Colombian defence.
Shinji Kagawa – 7/10
The penalty scorer, Kagawa started brightly enough but faded out of the game as it progressed. It wasn’t surprising to see him replaced by Keisuke Honda in the second half.
Genki Haraguchi – 6/10
Less impressive than his counterpart on the left – Takashi Inui – Haraguchi gave a creditable account of himself nonetheless.
Yuya Osako – 8/10
A fabulous performance for the Japanese striker which was capped off with an inch-perfect header from the corner to give the Japanese a win.
Keisuke Honda – 7/10
Provider of the assist for the winning goal from a corner, this was a productive appearance from the former AC Milan midfielder.
Hotaru Yamaguchi – 6/10
Brought on with ten minutes to go with the lead already assured, Yamaguchi was tasked with sitting deep and bringing the three points home for Japan.
Shinji Okazaki -6/10
While there was not enough time for the Leicester striker to impact the game, Okazaki came into the match with the same positivity that he exhibits week in, week out in the Premier League.
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