The Pernambuco Arena had another setback in store for Japan. After gracing the Recife stadium with one of best matches of the Confederations Cup only to leave the pitch with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory by Italy, the Japanese came back to the Pernambuco Arena today and fell before the Ivory Coast on the World Cup.
After two crosses from the right flank by Aurier within two minutes (at the 64th and 66th minutes), the African National Team scored two headers, by Bony and Gervinho, and overturned the match in their favor. The pitch was until then being dominated by the Japanese, who opened the score at the 16th minute with a beautiful left-leg through-ball from the edge of the box.
With the result, Ivory Coast is now tied with Colombia as lead of Group C with three points. The South American team has the advantage on goal difference, however, having beat Greece by 3-0. In the next round, Ivory Coast faces Colombia at the National Stadium in Brasilia on 19 June. Japan and Greece duel on the same day at the Dunas Arena in Natal.
Nipponese dominance, even if in the stands only
Cries of "Nippon" mixed with loud and incessant African drumming, all mingled with the cry of local supporters: the first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil was marked by cultural diversity and the joy of fans in a stadium that became a melting pot of 40,267 people.
In the majority among the fans, the Japanese arrived in full attire. Head props, samurai costumes and face painting were in display everywhere, with the Japanese making the best to make the stadium look like home to the Samurai Blue. Businessman Hayashida Setsuo came to town only to watch the match, and will leave right after the event. “After Recife I'll drop by Rio to see the city for one day, and then go straight back to Japan," he said, while having fun with his friend in a white swan costume. “We have a festival in Japan where everyone wears a costume. Since Brazil is the country of Carnival, we decided to play with it here as well.”
Ivorian supporter Anselme N'Gbocho mentioned ease of access to the stadium as a positive highlight. “I'm enjoying the experience, despite the rain. Recife is a cool city, and access to the stadium was uneventful. Watching football here is a gracious affair", he commented.