Colombia 1-2 Japan Player Ratings: Shibasaki shines

 

Takashi Inui was excellent – zimbio.com

Japan got their first World Cup win in eight years, as Yuya Osako’s second half winner gave them a 2-1 triumph over 10-man Colombia. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Colombia

David Ospina – made a good stop from Osako from a tight angle early in the second half, then an even better save from Inui. The only time he let himself down was Japan’s winner, when he failed to command his area; sadly for Colombia, that one blemish proved telling. 5

Santiago Arias – pressed well and made an effort to get high up the pitch in the first half, although he struggled to contain Inui after the break. 4
Davinson Sanchez – guilty of being caught out of position for the penalty, then letting Osako and Yoshida get sights at goal after the break. Looked comfortable in possession but needed to be more switched on. 3
Oscar Murillo – let Osako get a free header for the second half winner, but that was one of the few aerial duels that he didn’t dominate. A largely solid performance. 6
Johan Mojica – caught in possession once or twice but was also strong in the challenge; got forward well in the first half and put in some nice deliveries. 6

Carlos Sanchez – rightly sent off for an early hand-ball. Without that moment of madness, the game could have been very different. 1
Jefferson Lerma – did some good covering work without offering a great deal of quality in possession. Completed a large proportion of his passes but wasn’t able to play many that opened up Japan’s rear-guard. 4

Juan Cuadrado – didn’t see much of the ball in the first half hour but on one occasion, he made a threatening run that forced Nagatomo to back track. Taken off early in favour of a holding midfielder but had he been kept on, he might have grown in influence. 4
Juan Quintero – showed flashes of creativity to set up Falcao, even though he moved to a less familiar right-sided role when Barrios came on. His free-kick had an element of fortune to it but overall he was one of Colombia’s better players. 7
Jose Izquierdo – surprisingly quiet in the first half, perhaps because his right-footed tendencies weren’t especially helpful in compact central areas. Ironically, he would have been a more useful outlet in the final 20 minutes but Jose Pekerman opted to take him off. 4

Radamel Falcao – posed a threat throughout the first half. Without having real pace, he showed clever movement to latch onto Quintero’s balls and always won his physical battles with the centre-backs. Tired in the second half, when he had less support. 7

Wilmar Barrios (on 31) – added steel to Colombia’s midfield and made some important blocks, including one on Inui’s shot, but didn’t add much to the creative aspect of the team’s play. 5

James Rodriguez (on 59) – Colombia arguably regressed when he came on. Did wonderful things at the last World Cup but here, he didn’t look fit. 4
Carlos Bacca (on 70) – was unable to show his goalscoring instinct due to Japan’s control; lacked the pace and battling qualities required in the circumstances of the match. 3

Japan

Eiji Kawashima – after becoming the oldest player to appear for Japan in a World Cup match, the 35-year-old denied Falcao in the first half but made a terrible hash of Quintero’s free-kick. His decision to try to use both hands to save it made it harder for him to travel across the floor quickly enough. 3

Hiroki Sakai – a performance of largely no-nonsense defending. Got forward more in the second half though and might have done better with a tight-angled effort on the break just after the hour mark. 6
Maya Yoshida – didn’t back himself to win his individual duels with Falcao, but often stepped back a yard to ensure he didn’t leave space in behind. His opponent’s lack of support after the break meant he could squeeze up a little more. 8
Gen Shoji – struggled with the physicality and knowhow of Falcao in the first half but grew in confidence after the break. A solid display, considering his relative lack of experience on the world stage. 7
Yuto Nagatomo – never allowed space in behind but his cautious mentality was more problematic when Japan were in possession. 5

Makoto Hasebe – looked a tad limited in possession. No questioning the veteran captain’s desire and work rate but it remains to be seen quite how he will fare in an even-numbered encounter. 3
Gaku Shibasaki – did his defensive duties well in the first half and at times bailed out Hasebe, but he also contributed in possession. Played a nice free-kick just before the hour mark that found Yoshida and carried the ball forward on occassions too. 8
Genki Haraguchi – covered plenty of ground and offered bags of energy down the right hand side, but wasn’t especially comfortable using his left foot and contributing in central areas. 5
Takashi Inui – missed a presentable opening to double Japan’s lead early on, but forced a fine save from Ospina in the second half, then had another effort blocked after a jinking run. His low centre of gravity allows him to slip away from defenders, which made him instrumental to his team’s best attacking moves. 10
Shinji Kagawa – led a nice transitional move early in the first half, but had to fulfil a more circumspect role once the team dropped deeper. Some nice passes into forward areas when he had willing forward runners around him. 8

Yuya Osako – posed a threat early on with his running in behind, which was partly what contributed to the penalty. During Japan’s better spells, he was the one stretching the play which created space for the likes of Inui and Kagawa to shine; deserved his winner with a fine header. 8

Keisuke Honda (on 70) – it came as a surprise when Kagawa was taken off but Honda justified Nishino’s decision by putting in an excellent corner for Osako’s winner. 9
Hotaro Yamaguchi (on 80)
Shinji Okazaki (on 85)