World Cup: Chile Hit Six to Edge Out Japan (G)

After the second round of group games, Ivory Coast were the only team mathematically guaranteed of last sixteen football and they certainly took their foot off the gas against Chile who put six past them. Questions will be asked by Japan who battled to a draw against Bosnia and lost their second-place spot on goal difference.

Cote d’Ivore safely had booked their place in the second round, and made two changes: Eric Tié-Bi and Lossémy Karaboué came in to the side for  Moussa Kone and Ibrahim Sissoko.  One change for Chile who needed Japan to slip-up with a goal swing: Isla replacing the injured Alexis Sánchez.

Chile burst out the blocks and were ahead inside ten minutes when Diego Rubio got ahead of Salomon Kalou to head home Arturo Vidal’s corner at the near post. The goal put Japan and Chile on equal records, with Japan going through on the head-to-head.

Both sides exchanged blows for the next ten minutes before Brice Dja Djédjé was booked when he wiped-out Felipe Gutiérrez down the Chilean left wing. After sustained pressure from the South Americans, they went two-up when Rubio played a lovely ball square for Gary Medel who had given his marker the slip and fired home low off the woodwork from the edge of the box.

Ivory Coast pulled a goal back on 24 minutes when Djédjé flicked Karaboué’s corner onto Ismael Yamoussoukro to crack a shot through the crowd to make it 2-1. Rubio set up Junior Fernandes to find the top corner from 20 yards out ten minutes later as Chile restored the two-goal lead they were looking for.

By this time news had filtered through that Japan were trailing in Moscow and Chile were on course for the second round, but a Japanese equaliser would throw a spanner in the works unless they maintained their two-goal advantage.

Ivory Coast helped the Chilean cause five minutes before the break when Brice Dja Djédjé felled Gutiérrez for a second time and was shown a second yellow card – the eighth of the tournament.

Sensing blood against a team already through, Chile smelled blood and a double salvo on the hour mark put them comfortably in control. Diego Rubio was played in by Junior Fernandes to slot home from the edge of the box, then 90 seconds later fired in a low drive of his own to make it 4-1.

Diego Rubio then completed the first hat-trick of the tournament with the best goal of the game as he beat three men on a charge from halfway and buried a shot past Michel Koudou. More news from Moscow as Japan had equalised in the 84th minute, but as long as they couldn’t find a winner, Chile were through thanks to the significant goal swing.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP G (3)
                   IVORY COAST 1-6 CHILE
               Yamoussoukro 27     Rubio 9, 60, 80
                 Djédjé s/o 40     Medel 24
                                   Jr Fernandes 37, 62

                        Djédjé     Carmona
                       Romaric     Jr Fernandes

Japan made one change from their win over Chile, with Hajime Hosogai coming into the starting XI replacing the suspended Shintarô Fujii. Bosnia also made a single change: Ognjen Vranjes came into for Miroslav Stevanovic who was injured in stoppage time of the defeat to Ivory Coast.

Bosnia needed a win to stand a chance of progression, with Japan looking safe if they avoided defeat, but it was the European side who struck the first blow after quarter of an hour. Miralem Pjanic caught Hiroki Gonda napping in possession, broke and laid the ball off for Sanjin Prcic who smashed it from almost 30 yards out into the bottom corner.

With Chile already leading against Ivory Coast, Prcic’s goal dropped Japan to bottom of the group. They huffed and puffed for the next hour but nothing was coming off as Chile stormed into a commanding lead in the other group game. Jun Ôtami scrambled home an equaliser from a corner with six minutes to play, but they needed a winner.

Takagi had a 92nd minute effort from the edge of the box blocked right in front of goal as they threw everything forwards but it wasn’t to be. Ivory Coast and Chile progress and will be in last sixteen action on Tuesday.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP G (3)
                        JAPAN 1-1 BOSNIA
                     Ôtani 84     Prcic 16