World Cup: Colombia cruise to group win

JAPAN 1 COLOMBIA 4

TWO goals from striker Jackson Martinez ensured Colombia progressed to the knockout stages with a 100 per cent record.

The South American side, eighth in the world rankings, also profited from a first-half Juan Cuadrado penalty and James Rodriguez’s stunning late strike to set up a last-16 clash against Group D runners-up Uruguay.

Japan, needing a win to progress, fell behind on 17 minutes after Yasuyuki Konno mistimed his tackle on Adrian Ramos and Fiorentina winger Cuadrado blasted in from the penalty spot.

On the stroke of half-time Japan levelled when Shinki Okazaki met Keisuke Honda’s right-wing cross with a sublime diving header at the near post.

But Colombia turned up the heat in the second period and regained the lead on 55 minutes through Martinez, who struck again with eight minutes remaining to end Japan’s challenge.

And the comprehensive victory was completed in style as Rodriguez scored for the third group match in a row, twisting and turning past Maya Yoshida before applying a dinked finish.