Spurs forward Seydou Doumbia’s striker was enough to confirm Ivory Coast as the only team mathematically through to the Second Round, as they beat Bosnia by the solitary goal in Samara. In Nizhny, Japan came from a goal down to beat Chile and keep their destiny in their own hands.
Both sides in Nizhny Novgorod made just the one change, with Japan bringing in defender Jun Ôtani® for the injured William®, and Chile started with Carlos Carmona as Matías Campos Toro moved to the bench.
Moments after Gutiérrez fired a 30-yarder against the bar, Chile took the lead through Diego Rubio with 20 minutes playedas he reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box when Gary Medel’s pass into Junior Fernandes was deflected into space. Rubio nutmegged Iwayama from around twelve yards out to put Chile in the driving seat.
Parity was restored eight minutes before the interval, when Hiroshi Kiyotake launched a long free-kick into the box and Hiroshi Ibusuke got free of his marker and smashed home a half-volley from ten yards out as the Chileans appealed for offside against Gonda.
Shintarô Fujii picked-up a needless booking in first-half stoppage time that will rule him out of Japan’s final group game against Bosnia on Friday. Alexis Sanchez fired against the post soon after the interval before he landed awkwardly and was stretchered off. If Chile don’t progress from their final match against Ivory Coast then his World Cup may be over.
Chile restricted Japan to just the one effort on target in the second-half, but it proved to be the match winner after a calamitous error at the back. Carlos Labrín’s header back to his ‘keeper from a lofted ball forwards from Keisuke Honda was too short, and Shinji Okazaki nipped in to nod past Olivares and wheeled away in celebration as the ball trickled agonisingly over the line.
The Porto striker has now moved one goal away from the all-time Japanese goal-scoring record of 80 national goals, held by Kunishige Kamamoto since 1977.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP G (2) JAPAN 2-1 CHILE Ibusuke 37 Rubio 20 Okazaki 84 Medel Fujii Vidal
Ivory Coast made just one change from the side that beat Japan in Moscow on Tuesday with Juventus midfielder Moussa Kone a straight swap for the suspended Romaric. Bosnia too made just one change with Ervin Zukanovic in for Muhamed Subasic, who was injured in their draw with Chile.
The first-half was a largely tactical affair as the packed midfields held each other to a stalemate, with little action in either final third. That is until five minutes before the break when Salomon Kalou hit the goal-line down the left before pulling back for Seydou Doumbia to finish inside the six-yard box.
After the interval, Bosnia twice tested Koudou from range, while Ivory Coast had a series of corners, but a second goal of the game wasn’t forthcoming. Miroslav Stefanovic was stretchered off late-on for Bosnia and he looks set to miss their final match.
Two wins from two has sealed Ivory Coast’s place in the Second Round.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP G (2) BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 0-1 IVORY COAST Doumbia 40 Prcic Doumbia Nestorovic