World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 13 with Godin, Manolas and Rodriguez
Day 13 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup featured one blowout and three tightly contested affairs.
In Group C, Colombia scored three times after the restart en route to a 4-1 thumping of Japan—a victory that saw the South Americans finish with a perfect record atop the bracket.
In the section’s other contest, Greece put Ivory Coast out of the competition with a late, controversial penalty in Fortaleza.
Group D also showcased drama, with Uruguay beating Italy to take second place in the bracket, while Costa Rica and England played to a scoreless draw.
There were standout performers in each contest, and over the next few slides, we’ll have a look at Day 13’s Best XI.
Goalkeeper: David Ospina, Colombia
No goalkeeper made as many saves as Colombia’s David Ospina on Tuesday, as Japan came out looking for goals to take them into the round of 16.
They only got one by the 25-year-old, who made way for legendary Colombia international and 43-year-old Faryd Mondragon in the 85th minute.
Arsenal are thought to be monitoring the Nice ‘keeper, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail.
Right-Back: Santiago Arias, Colombia
Tuesday wasn’t a good day for full-backs, but Colombia’s Santiago Arias didn’t put a foot wrong against Japan in Cuiaba.
The 22-year-old combined well with Juan Cuadrado down the right and also helped neutralise Manchester United attacker Shinji Kagawa.
Centre-Back: Diego Godin, Uruguay
Just last month, Diego Godin headed the Primera Division-winning goal into the back of the net against Barcelona—helping Atletico Madrid to its first title since 1996.
On Tuesday, the Uruguay defender scored an eerily similar goal with just nine minutes remaining against Italy to put La Celeste into the round of 16 at the World Cup.
Over the course of the match, Godin also completed each and every one of his passes and won the vast majority of his aerial battles.
Centre-Back: Kostas Manolas, Greece
Quietly, Kostas Manolas has put together an impressive World Cup.
On Tuesday against Ivory Coast, the Greece defender helped keep Didier Drogba at bay until the 36-year-old was withdrawn, and his excellent positional sense was a major factor in limiting Les Elephants to just four shots on target.
Left-Back: Pablo Armero, Colombia
So much of Colombia’s offensive punch against Japan came from the left-hand side of the pitch.
Pablo Armero, 27, linked up nicely with Jackson Martinez over the course of 90 minutes and also contributed a trio of tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Central Midfielder: Giannis Maniatis, Greece
Incredibly, Giannis Maniatis didn’t misplace a single pass against Ivory Coast.
The 27-year-old Olympiacos man sat deep for Greece on Tuesday and swept away the vast majority of what Les Elephants were able to muster in the centre of the park.
Cheick Tiote and Yaya Toure, for example, were almost completely neutralised.
Central Midfielder: Arevalo Rios, Uruguay
Arevalo Rios’ most important contribution to Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy was his receiving of Claudio Marchisio’s high, reckless foul that led to the referee sending off the Juventus midfielder.
But the Tigres midfielder also played a good game in his own right, distributing the ball accurately and providing a reliable shield in front of the defense.
Attacking Midfielder: Shinji Okazaki, Japan
Japan’s second and final goal of the World Cup came on the stroke of half-time against Colombia and gave the Blue Samurai a faint hope of progressing through to the knockout stages.
Shinji Okazaki scored it with an extremely well-placed header past David Ospina.
But that’s where it ended for Okazaki and Japan, who fell victim to three Colombia goals after the restart and crashed out of the competition.
Attacking Midfielder: James Rodriguez, Colombia
The longer Colombia last at this World Cup, the greater the chance James Rodriguez wins the tournament’s Golden Ball.
On Tuesday, the 22-year-old played just over 45 minutes against Japan, but in that time, he set up a pair of goals and scored one for himself.
He has now been involved in five of his country’s goals in Brazil.
Attacking Midfielder: Jackson Martinez, Colombia
When James Rodriguez was sent on to work with Jackson Martinez, Colombia simply became unstoppable.
Just 10 minutes after the restart, Martinez found the back of the net after a fine Rodriguez setup, and after bagging his brace in the 82nd minute, he returned the favour—playing provider on his teammate’s third of the World Cup.
Centre Forward: Georgios Samaras, Greece
Georgios Samaras picked a fine time to put together his best performance as a Greece international.
On Tuesday, in a must-win match against Ivory Coast, the 29-year-old set up Andreas Samaris’ opener and then won the penalty that he, himself, converted for the victory.
Of course, the decision was not without controversy, as Samaras appeared to clip his own heel as he ran in on goal.
All statistics via WhoScored.com unless otherwise noted.