Japan controlled the run of play in the first half, finishing it off with an equalizing goal in stoppage time. But the first 45 was played without James Rodriguez. When the AS Monaco man was introduced, Colombia took control.
With Japan needing to press for a winning goal, the playmaker began to feed his teammates all across the field. Colombia’s break was deadly as they scored three goals in the second half.
J-ROD BRINGS THE ENERGY: He didn't start the game, but Rodriguez sure made an impact. After entering the game as a second-half sub, the Cafeteros came out on fire. The conclusion of that was Jackson Martinez’s 55th minute goal that was set up by a great touch from Rodriguez’s left foot. The goal was Martinez’s first in a competitive match since 2009.
Rodriguez found Martinez for a second goal in the 82nd minute with Japan pressing to tie the game. Finally, in the 90th minute, Rodriguez put his own name on the scoresheet with his third goal of the tournament.
OLD MAN RIVER: At the 1994 World Cup in the US, Faryd Mondragon watched on the bench as his team flamed out in the group stage. Fast-forward 20 years and Mondragon subbed on in the 85th minute as his team were finishing up a perfect group stage, collecting all nine points. At 43 years old, the former Union goalkeeper broke the record for oldest player to appear in a World Cup match.
43 - Faryd Mondragon is the oldest ever player to appear in a World Cup game (43 years & 3 days old). Veteran. #COL— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 24, 2014
SAMURAI BLUE FINALLY FIND THE NET: After taking 13 shots and controlling 64 percent possession in the half, Japan finally were able to get one past David Ospina to tie up the game 1-1 on the last play of the first 45. Keisuke Honda cut in from the right on his left foot and found Shinji Okakazki’s head, who acrobatically scored Japan’s first goal in 209 minutes.
AGAINST THE RUN: Colombia drew first blood when Yasuyuki Konno took down Adrian Ramos with a reckless tackle in the box. Juan Cuadrado stepped out to spot and confidently finished. The goal came when Japan were attacking down Colombia’s throats, controlling 75 percent of the possession over the previous 10 minutes.
PEKERMAN RESTS STARTERS: After starting the same 11 players in Colombia’s first two wins, Jose Pekerman decided to make some changes. Eight of the 11 starters went to the bench, including Rodriguez and Teofilo Gutierrez. Coming in were Juan Quintero, Martinez, and former Philadelphia Union captain Carlos Valdes. Valdes is currently with San Lorenzo in Argentina while on loan from the Union.
MAN OF THE MATCH: James Rodriguez, midfielder, Colombia. -- Japan looked the better team in the first half despite the even scoreboard. Rodriguez flipped the game as soon as he took a step on the field.