Colombia won from a goal-down to defeat Croatia in Rostov to take control of Group H with their second win, while Scotland won their first game at a World Cup in 28 years when they came from behind against ten-man Mexico to leapfrog their opponents into second on head-to-head.
Two changes for Colombia from their win over Scotland: Anderson Camacho® and Raúl Scarpeta® in for Pablo Armero and Manuel Schmiedebach. Croatia made two changes from the side that lost to Mexico: Jurica Buljat and Luis Ibáñez replaced by Ivan Strinic and David Domej – who has just completed a £12m move from Sunderland to Man City.
Everton striker Nikica Jelavic scored his tenth goal for Croatia with a fantastic first-time left foot drive that flew past David Ospina in the 20th minute after a delightful ball into his path from Ante Vukusic.
The lead lasted just three minutes though Edwin Zapata pounced on indecision from Domej to draw Colombia level. James Rodríguez whipped a free-kick into the box, headed towards his own goal line by Sime Vrsaljko. Domej tried to prevent it going for a corner, made a hash of the clearance and Zapata simply had to slot the ball home from eight yards.
Colombia had Croatia pegged-back in their own half and when they took the lead in the 40th minute, it was deserved. Carbonero slotted a ball through to James Rodríguez who had time and space to pick his spot and drill home a low shot in-off the post.
A third came fifteen minutes from time when man-of-the-match Freddy Guarín spotted the run of Víctor Ibarbo in to the box. A sublime reverse pass found the Spartak striker who held off the challenge of Strinic and and slotted home for 3-1. Victory means Colombia have one foot in the last sixteen. They play Mexico on Friday.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP H (2) COLOMBIA 3-1 CROATIA E.Zapata 24 Jelavic 21 James 40 Ibarbo 75 Vrsaljko Corluka
Erick Torres – hero in the Mexico win over Croatia – turned villain in today’s clash with Scotland when he was dismissed one minute after Scotland equalised in a game they were second-best in throughout. Giovanni dos Santos was the only Mexican change, replacing Alan Navarro®.
Scotland made three changes from the side that lost to Colombia. In came Ryan Gauld, James Morrison and Ian Morrison; replacing Grant Hanley, Liam Bridcutt and Steven Fletcher.
Midfielder Giovanni dos Santos, playing on his club Anji’s home ground in Makhachkala, slotted home in the 7th minute to put Mexico in front after a run from Christian Arochi® down the left where he pulled the ball back from the goal-line for a tap in.
Mexico came close twice in the next fifteen minutes but were undone by a superb Ryan Gauld free-kick that will be in the running for goal of the tournament. Jordan Rhodes was felled by Héctor Moreno, and Gauld had the opportunity from 30 yards out. He bent the ball round the left of the wall, and it cannoned into the back of the net courtesy of the underside of the bar.
Less than two minutes later, it got worse for Mexico. Jorge Enríquez’s ball towards Torres was too short and the Pumas midfielder – scorer of nine goals in a 12-1 Gold Cup win over Panama last July – went in two-footed to win it ahead of Russell Martin. Neither the Scottish bench nor Turkish referee was impressed with the challenge and Erick Torres was shown a straight red.
Five minutes after half-time, Jordan Rhodes hit a daisy-cutter from 20 yards that spun off the wet turf and away from the outstretch arm of a diving Guillermo Ochoa for the most famous Scottish goal in quite some time.
Mexico bombarded David Marshall’s goal for the remaining 40 minutes but the Cardiff City ‘keeper was equal to everything, with a little help from the woodwork twice and Scotland held out for a huge win. As long as they match or better Mexico’s result on Friday, they’ll go through.
FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP H (2) MEXICO 1-2 SCOTLAND dos Santos 7 Gauld 22 Torres s/o 24 Rhodes 50 Enríquez McArthur Arochi Wallace