Japan took the lead after 16 minutes through Japan’s talisman Keisuke Honda. The midfielder collected the ball on the edge of the box after a corner kick, and what he did next was superb.
He moved the ball onto his left side by beating Man City’s Yaya Toure with a great first touch, then with very little back lift, fired into the top left corner leaving Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry with no chance.
However Ivory Coast, who weren’t starting Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, were on top of Japan for most of the half, without really testing the organised Japanese side.
Moments after Drogba come on, Ivory Coast’s pressure told on 64 minutes when a great cross from Serge Aurier was met by Swansea striker Bony, who brilliantly glanced his header inside the far corner.
It only took the African side two minutes to take the lead after equalising. Aurier again provided with a superb cross, this time met by Gervinho’s who forced the ball inside the near post. However Japan goalkeeper Kawashima will feel he could do better as the ball went under his body.
Ivory Coast now face Colombia on Thursday, whilst Japan play Greece in Natal.