December 21, 2014
Colombia thrash Japan 4-1 to top group, Greece grab second
Jackson Martinez scored twice as Colombia beat Japan 4-1 to top World Cup Group C with maximum points today, earning a second-round meeting with Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro and ending Japan's interest in the tournament.
Already assured of progress, Colombia went ahead with a 17th-minute Juan Cuadrado penalty, only for Shinji Okazaki to equalise with a diving header before the break as Japan sought the win they needed to have any chance of progressing.
Martinez restored Colombia's lead with a sharp strike after 55 minutes and then produced a cool finish to make it 3-1 eight minutes from time before James Rodriguez added a delightful fourth goal with a clever run and chip over the keeper.
Colombia, who are in the last 16 for the first time since 1990, finished on nine points with Greece going through in second place to face Costa Rica after their 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast. Japan were bottom with one point.
A stoppage time penalty from Giorgios Samaras, meanwhile sent Greece into the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast.
The Africans were seconds away from heading into the second round themselves after Wilfried Bony's 74th minute equaliser looked to have given them the point they needed to progress.
But Samaras went down inside the box and rose to convert the penalty and send his team through to play Costa Rica in the second round.
Substitute Andreas Samaris gave Greece the lead in the 42nd minute beating Boubacar Barry following a mix-up in the Ivory Coast defence.