World Cup 2018: Colombia vs Japan; Best & Worst Players from the game
Japan scripted history today by becoming the first Asian team to have defeated a South American nation in the FIFA World Cup. Akira Nishino’s team managed to sneak a minor opening from a majorly resilient Colombian defence as Yuya Osako headed in the winning goal in the 73rd minute through a corner from Keisuke Honda.
Colombia disappointed collectively, as Radamel Falcao was deprived of quality service for the majority of the game. Jose Pekerman’s men suffered a numerical disadvantage on the field as Carlos Sanchez’s early sending off meant that the team had to play for almost ninety minutes with just 10 players on the field.
This certainly had a huge negative impact on them, considering the fact that the team was forced to undertake a pragmatic approach afterward. This was an interesting game from another perspective too, that is, the fact that none of the three goals came from open play.
One penalty, a free-kick, and then a corner-kick is what decided the fortunes of this game, with both the teams putting in incredible work-rate and commitment, which was quite visible through the speed of the build-up play and some slick counter-attacks that Japan initiated. Here, we look at five players who underwent contrasting experiences in the game.
To put it in a more understandable way, here, in the next five slides, I state my opinions on the best and the worst players from the 28 players who stepped on the field during this contest.
#1 Worst: Carlos Sanchez
It would be a tad bit weird to term a player negatively who barely spent five minutes on the field. However, it was Carlos’ lack of match-awareness and a comical moment of madness that resulted in Colombia playing the catch-up game for the entirety of the match.
Sanchez deliberately blocked a long-range effort, directed straight at the goal with his hands and subsequently gave away a spot-kick to Japan.
His handling of the ball also meant that he was sent off in the second minute itself. It is actually the second fastest red card issued in the World Cup history. Moreover, Colombia were mentally and psychologically hurt by this and were forced to change their overall playing style too.
Carlos was expected to anchor the midfield, feed through-balls to Falcao and to induce some creativity coupled with energy and drive at the centre of the park.
In his absence, Colombia were forced to play long balls from wide areas to Falcao, whose overall influence in the game degraded to a huge extent too.
Without James and Carlos, Colombia looked bleak and were overrun in the midfield; and, Sanchez should take up a whole lot of responsibility for his stupid error which led to all of this.