Photo: Colombian National team
Colombia beat Japan 4-1 in Cuiaba on Tuesday to end the group phase of the 2014 World Cup with a perfect 3-0 record.
With his team already assured of a place in the round of 16, coach Jose Pekerman fielded a lineup including eight substitutes, including 43-year-old backup goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who became the oldest player to compete in a World Cup.
Japan, on the other hand, needed a win to have any chance of advancing, forcing the Asian side into an aggressive approach that provided the South Americans with opportunities on the counterattack.
And one of those opportunities led to the first goal, as a lost ball ended up with Juan Armero, who passed it to Adrian Ramos in the area, where he was fouled, setting up Juan Cuadrado’s successful conversion to make it 1-0 in the 20th minute.
Japan, hoping only to make it to halftime without giving up another goal, got lucky in the 45th minute, when a Colombian giveaway led to a equalizer by Shinji Okazaki.
Jackson Martinez, however, put Colombia ahead again just eight minutes into the second half. He scored again in the 82nd minute to give his side a 3-1 advantage.
Colombia’s top scorer in the competition, James Rodriguez, got the fourth goal in the final minute of regulation.
Next up for Group C winner Colombia is Uruguay, who finished second in Group D.