Dribbling, blocking and awful crosses: how Stats Zone saw Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast
The two sides who had won the opening Group C games met in Brasilia, and the result was an entertaining clash between slightly different footballing philosophies.
The sides were well-matched from the off, as this 10th-minute snapshot shows: Ivory Coast were shading possession with 50.9%.
However, Colombia were getting deeper into enemy territory with more frequency.
Colombia upped the pass rate and by midway through the half, as Colombia's struggling front-man Teo Guttierez miskicked a clear chance wide, his side had had 55% possession. Both teams were becoming keen on diagonal passes.
Ten minutes later, the pendulum had swung back to Ivory Coast, so the teams were matched on successful passes.
By half-time each side had only managed 1 accurate shot; Colombia were shooting wildly but blocking Ivorian shots well.
Ivory Coast had racked up more passes with their possession, but Colombia were stretching the pitch better: note the passing deep in their own third and high in the Ivorians'. This type of passing - less frequent but more expansive - became a feature of the South Americans' play.
Not a good half for wingers and target-men: only 1 of the 20 crosses reached its man.
Both teams were happy to attempt dribbles all over the pitch, but the Afrians were better at it.
James Rodriguez led the final-third passes, with Yaya Toure the busiest Ivorian in that respect.
However, each side's lone front-man had a half to forget.
Just before the hour, Colombia's tricky winger Cuadrado fired a shot which the goalkeeper could only parry onto a post; the goals were coming. First, on 63 minutes, the impressively busy James Rodriguez noded in a corner.
Six minutes later the Colombians pressed Ivory Coast back from their own poor corner; Rodriguez robbed Serey Die and Guttierez fed sub Juan Quintero to double the lead.
However, three minutes later Gervinho halved the deficit, bustling in from the wing with purpose to fire home.
Interestingly, Gervinho's goal came from a flank the Ivorians had largely ignored.
That prompted more pressure, but to no avail. At the final whistle Ivory Coast had had more shots, but Colombia blocked efficiently.
The Africans had also had 55.6% possession and racked up more passes, but the South Americans looked reasonably comfortable with it.
Ivory Coast fired in 30 crosses, but the only cross converted into a goal was Rodriguez's header from a corner to put Colombia in a lead they never lost.
In all it was an entertaining game, particularly for those who like to see players take men on.
Facts and figures
- Colombia have already equalled their record of goals scored during a World Cup (5, in 1962).
- Ivory Coast’s 3 World Cup games against South American sides have all ended in defeats (1-2 vs Argentina in 2006, 1-3 vs Brazil in 2010 and 1-2 vs Colombia in 2014).
- James Rodriguez has scored in each of his last 4 appearances for Colombia. Indeed, Rodriguez is the second Colombian player to score in consecutive World Cup games (Adolfo Valencia 1994).
- Juan Cuadrado (3) has now provided more assists at a single World Cup since 1966 than any other Colombian player.
- Wilfried Bony failed to register a single touch in the opposition box during this match.
- 8 of Ivory Coast’s 12 goals at the World Cup have been scored after the 60th minute of games.
- 6 of the last 7 goals Colombia have scored at the World Cup have arrived in the second half.
- Gervinho is the first Ivory Coast player to score in consecutive World Cup matches.
- Ivory Coast have conceded 2 or more goals in 5 of their 8 World Cup matches.
- Didier Zokora and Yaya Toure are the only two players to have started every World Cup game for Ivory Coast.