CUIABA, Brazil – Substitute James Rodriguez scored a brilliant goal and set up two more for Jackson Martinez as Colombia beat Japan 4-1 on Tuesday to confirm top spot in Group C and eliminate the Asian champions from the World Cup.
Already assured of advancing, Colombia guaranteed first place with its third straight win, setting up a second-round match against Uruguay.
The Colombians started with a virtual second-string lineup but still went in front when Juan Cuadrado – one of the few regular starters – drilled in a 17th-minute penalty.
Japan equalized with the last touch of the first half through Shinji Okazaki’s header but Martinez scored in the 55th and 82nd minutes – both from superb passes from Rodriguez – to put the result beyond doubt.
GROUP C FINAL STANDINGS