Player Ratings: Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan

Sports Mole takes a look at who impressed during the 90 minutes in the Ivory Coast's 2-1 win over Japan in their World Cup Group C clash.

The Ivory Coast got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start as they came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in their Group C clash.

Keisuke Honda handed Alberto Zaccheroni's side the lead in the 16th minute, but Les Elephants rallied in the second half and strikes from Wilfried Bony and Gervinho were enough to secure the three points.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at who impressed in the 90 minutes at the Arena Pernambuco.


Ivory Coast national team pose prior to the start of a Group C football match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 14, 2014© Getty Images

Ivory Coast

Goal

Boubacar Barry: The keeper could do nothing to prevent his side going behind to Honda's powerful strike in the 16th minute. He did make one good stop in the first half to deny the AC Milan midfielder adding to his tally. Was largely redundant in the second half as his side began to dominate, but look assured when he was called upon. (7/10)

Defence

Serge Aurier: Had an excellent game for Sabri Lamouchi's side as he raided forward from the back and produced quality cross after cross into the box. His first-half efforts went unrewarded, but Bony and Gervinho finally connected in the second half to hand him two assists. Defensively he was solid and assured at the back, and was rarely troubled by Shinji Kagawa. (8/10)

Didier Zokora: Struggled at times in the first half as Japan threatened the Ivorian backline on several occasions. His positional sense wasn't as good as it could have been, although he did make one good interception to break up an attack. He grew stronger in the second half and looked more assured. Was booked for dissent. (6/10)

Souleymane Bamba: Had a decent game at the back for Les Elephants. At times he did struggle in the first half with the pace of the Japanese counter-attacks, but as the game wore on he became more confident at the back. He was dominant in the air throughout the 90 minutes. Was booked for a challenge on Shinji Okazaki. (6/10)

Arthur Boka: Was a good outlet for his side down the left. Didn't quite have the success of Aurier, but was always an option for his side. Unlucky not to find the net with first-half free kick, and was also fairly solid at the back in the second half after some minor troubles in the first 45 minutes. Sustained an injury and replaced after 75 minutes. (7/10)

Midfield

Cheick Tiote: Was all at sea in the first half as he struggled to pick up the runs of Honda and Okazaki from deep. Gradually grew into the game in the second half and allowed his side's creative players to flourish. (6/10)

Geoffrey Serey Die: Showed glimpses of his ability in the first half as he raided forward, but lacked the final product in and around the box. Faded in the second half and was replaced by Didier Drogba in the 62nd minute. (6/10)

Yaya Toure: Far from his best, although he did make two of his trademark runs into the box, which were well defended by Zaccheroni's side. Missed a good chance from a free kick in the first half as he failed to find his range from 20 yards. Improved as the game wore on, but he will be frustrated by his performance in his side's opener. (6/10)

Attack

Gervinho: The former Arsenal man was full of running in his side's opener but at times didn't quite have the quality in the final third. He had decent chances in the first half, which he failed to find the net from, but he kept plugging away in the second. Moved well in the final third which was crucial in getting his side's winner, although Kawashima should have done better to keep his effort out. (7/10)

Salomon Kalou: An inconsistent display from the former Chelsea forward. At times he was a real threat in front of goal with his ability to drive at the Japan defence, but when he got inside the box the outcome was often disappointing. He grew in confidence like many of his teammates as the game progressed and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. (7/10)

Wilfried Bony: It is often said that great strikers need short memories and that statement summed up the Swansea City striker's match in a nutshell. The 25-year-old had several great opportunities to find the net in the opening 60 minutes of the game, but failed to hit the target. However, he didn't let those misses affect his confidence as he showed predatory instincts to head home his side's equaliser in the 64th minute from Aurier's cross. A striker's goal and he showed great character to keep getting in scoring positions. (8/10)

Substitutes

Didier Drogba: Made a real impact after arriving from the bench. He seemed to inspire his teammates with his presence as two minutes after coming on his side equalised and within another two were ahead. The 36-year-old could have scored himself if not for a good stop from Kawashima. Held the ball up towards the end of the game extremely well to milk the clock and ensure his side secured the victory. (7/10)

Constant Djakpa: Brought on to replace Boka after 75 minutes and was solid enough to ensure that his side secured the victory despite late pressure from Japan. (6/10)

Didier Ya Konan: Replaced Bony and showed some neat touches in his time on the pitch, but limped off in injury time with a leg injury. (6/10)


Japan pose for a team photo before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Japan at Arena Pernambuco on June 14, 2014© Getty Images

Japan

Goal

Eiji Kawashima: Made a few decent stops in the first half and had command of his area throughout the 90 minutes. However, made the crucial error allowing Gervinho's header to slip through his hands the near post to gift the Ivory Coast the win. Made a solid save to deny Drogba from adding a third late in the game. (5/10)

Defence

Atsuto Uchida: The 26-year-old had a decent game for Zaccheroni's side as he offered an outlet going forward and was dependable at the back. He was unlucky not to find the net as he powered through a tackle from Boka in the first half, but saw his shot beaten away by Barry. (6/10)

Masato Morishige: The defender had an excellent first 45 minutes as he along with Maya Yoshida seemed to cope with the barrage of attacks facing them, making several good interventions. In the second half pressure finally told on him and his defensive partner as the Ivory Coast made their chances pay, although there wasn't a great deal the 27-year-old could do about it. (7/10)

Maya Yoshida: The Southampton man also had a good game for his side as he repelled all comers in the first half, like his partner making good interceptions and his reading of the game was spot on. He was powerless to prevent Les Elephants finding the net with their two headers as their quality finally told. (7/10)

Yuto Nagatomo: Showed good attacking intent pushing forward from the back to set up Honda for his side's goal. However, defensively he was troubled all game by the threat of Aurier down the Ivorian right-hand side and couldn't stop the crosses teeming in from that side of the pitch, which eventually led to his side's downfall. (5/10)

Midfield

Makoto Hasebe: Had a quiet game for his side and didn't seem to be 100% fit as he was replaced in the second half. The game seemed to pass him by as he provided little protection for his backline throughout his time on the pitch. (5/10)

Hotaru Yamaguchi: Didn't provide the defensive shield that he should have against the raiding Ivorian attackers through the middle, as he left his centre-backs exposed time and again. His passing was decent in the first half as he tried to play Honda in as often as he could, but as the game wore on that outlet was nullified. (5/10)

Shinji Kagawa: The Manchester United man had a bright start to the game in the opening 20 minutes, but from then on he seemed to fall off drastically. He didn't provide any protection for Nagatomo down the left to prevent Aurier from crossing the ball and was largely anonymous in the second half. (5/10)

Keisuke Honda: Showed his quality with a great finish in the 16th minute after taking a brilliant first touch to get the ball out of his feet. Seemed to be pulling all of the strings in the first half and could have added to his side's lead. However, in the second half his touch seem to fade as the Ivory Coast midfielders got a better grip on him, which nullified his side's attacking threat. (7/10)

Attack

Shinji Okazaki: Had a promising start to the game like a lot of his teammates and showed good touches in and around the box. The Ivory Coast defenders became more physical with him in the second half and that seemed to knock him off his stride and diminished his production down the right. (6/10)

Yuya Osako: The 24-year-old was the focal point of his side's attacking threat in the first half and he linked up well with Honda in the opening 45 minutes. However, he was isolated in the second half and didn't provide any threat to the Ivorian backline. (6/10)

Substitutes

Yasuhito Endo: Replaced Hasebe after 54 minutes and struggled to get up to the pace of the game as the Japanese midfield became overrun as the match progressed. (5/10)

Yoshito Okubo: As Japan's attacking threat stalled in the second half there was little for the striker to feed off and he was an anonymous figure during his 23 minutes on the pitch. (5/10)

Yoichiro Kakitani: Had just four minutes to make an impact on the game and barely touched the ball as Japan became desperate as time ticked away. (6/10)


Gervinho of the Ivory Coast celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Didier Drogba during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Japan at Arena Pernambuco on June 14, 2014
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