Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa bowed out of Brazil 2014 on Tuesday after Japan lost their final group match 4-1 to Colombia.
The Samurai Blue entered their third fixture of the tournament knowing that only a win, coupled with a low-scoring victory for Greece against Ivory Coast, would keep them in it. But that objective suffered an early blow in Cuiaba when the Colombians, who had already qualified, took the lead from the penalty spot in the 17th minute. There seemed little danger when Adrian Ramos entered the box with a run angled away from goal but a rash challenge by Japan centre-back Yasuyuki Konno sent him tumbling and Juan Cuadrado thumped the resulting spot-kick down the middle.
In response, Kagawa tried twice to equalise with the better effort being a low shot that Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina saved with a dive to his right. A later attempt from Shinji following Okubo's dribble was deflected high, wide and out for a corner.
Despite trailing, Japan were creating the greater number of chances and with the very last one of the half, they equalised when Shinji Okazaki beat Ospina with a glancing header in injury time.
The interval scoreline of 1-1, added to the news that Greece were leading 1-0, gave fresh hope to the Japanese players and fans. The scenario would never improve, however, and when Porto striker Jackson Martinez put Colombia back in front in the 57th minute, it was the beginning of the end for Japan.