As the group stage comes to an end with two teams from each remaining in Brazil and the rest heading back home, we at Outside of the Boot have analysed each group, paying focus to four key aspects — the primary tactical system that was noticeably successful, the individual game changing performance that decided which way a result went, the most consistent and best young player across the three games (Talent Radar) with the players qualifying no more than 22-years-old and an XI of the best players from the group.
We explained here how Colombia really aren’t dark horses for the World Cup. In fact, given the squad, they were largely expected to progress past the group stage and by no means did they disappoint, winning all their games and head into the next round with maximum points. A lot was expected of Ivory Coast & Japan as well but the least expected team to progress from the group, Greece, are the others making it through, keeping some hope alive for Europeans in the competition.
Key Tactical System
We will give our due credit to James Rodriguez later on in the piece but the key tactical trend that has been the most successful in this group is Colombia’s excellent use of their wide men in attack. Essentially, they’re not one who just provide width but rather perform as attacking midfielders behind the striker. Victor Ibarbo has taken his position on the left while one of the tournament’s favourite player, Juan Cuadrado, has been excellent on the right.
Both these players manage to not only provide width when needed, but more threateningly, they’re extremely dangerous getting into the box, willing to take on a man or two. They combine excellently well with James Rodriguez and the lone striker, Teo Guitierrez. That entire fluid Colombia attack is certainly impressive, and has helped the side completely forget a certain Radamel Falcao.
Although this player and his team will not be competing in the next round of the World Cup, Serge Aurier’s performance for Ivory Coast vs Japan is by far the most memorable one this tournament. While he did his defensive duties as asked, getting back into position with good recovery pace when he venture forward, his real influence was in attack where he set-up two Ivory Coast goals in the space of two minutes, to help his side come-back from a goal down. You can read full details of Serge Aurier’s performance vs Japan right here. Aurier was listed in our Talent Radar 25 Young Players to Watch at the World Cup.
Not only has James Rodriguez been the Talent Radar Best Young Player in Group C, he has arguably been the best player across all groups and all ages. Of the 10 goals that Colombia have scored, James Rodriguez has been involved in 5 of them, scoring three and setting-up two more. The midfielder, wearing No.10 on his back, has justified that exact role with creativity, driving runs and an eye for goal. His latest strike against Japan tells you exactly the type of player he is, bursting with confidence and quality while incredibly calm and composed. A star in the making indeed (if he already hasn’t been made). James Rodriguez was also listed in our Talent Radar 25 Young Players to Watch at the World Cup.
Players in red are Talent Radar youngsters
Read all our World Cup 2014 content here
Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar. Appeared in A Football Report's list of "Best in Football Writing 2012".
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