Two goals in quick succession secured a superb turnaround by the Ivory Coast against Japan as Didier Drogba and co joined Colombia on three points in Group C
Japan raced into a 1-0 lead after Keisuke Honda motored through the back four and hit a driven shot into the top corner with 16 minutes on the clock.
The Ivory Coast drew lever with twenty five minutes when Serge Aurier’s sweeping cross by headed in by a charging Wilfried Bony, the goal.
Amazingly the West Africans took the lead straight after, another Aurier cross from a similar position was headed in by Gervinho this time and withing two minutes the Ivory Coast had gone from one goal down to one goal up.
Didier Drogba had entered the fray just after the hour and his introduction clearly had an impact, although not having a direct impact in the goals, Drogba’s arrival seemed to lift the team as a whole.
He had a chance of his own in the last ten minutes but his free-kick was tipped wide by Eiji Kawashima.
A shot of his was also deflected past the goalmouth with five minutes remaining.
Following Honda’s goal, Japan were the team in a different gear early on, Atsuto Uchida almost doubled Japan’s advantage five minutes later after he jinked inside one Ivorian defender but could only shoot straight at Boubacar Barry who steered it away.
Yaya Toure was the driving force for Cote d’Ivorie, firing a free-kick over the bar and setting up Solomon Kalou who wasted a chance.
Arthur Boka rifled one from range that Kawashima parried out only as far as Wilfried Bony but the Swansea man was offside.
Kalou had a golden opportunity just before half time but his header was misjudged and sailed well wide when the ‘keeper should have been tested.
Despite his early goal, Japan’s play-maker Honda stalled for the rest of the game, couldn’t build on their lead and were ultimately punished by the ability of the forwards at the disposal of Sabri Lamouchi’s and his side.