Maya Yoshida could not prevent Japan being beaten 4-1 by Colombia and going out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals on Tuesday evening.
The Saints man retained his position at the heart of the Samurai Blue’s defence against the already-qualified South Americans.
After being beaten by the Côte d’Ivoire and drawing with Greece, Yoshida’s team needed a win to have any chance of reaching the last 16. They also required Greece to beat the Côte d’Ivoire.
However, Colombia took the lead at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá through Juan Cuadrado on 17 minutes.
But, with Greece winning in Fortaleza, Japan’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage were reignited on the stroke of half time when Shinji Okazaki headed in from close range.
However, things fell apart after the break as Jackson Martínez restored Colombia’s lead ten minutes into the second period.
Martínez then grabbed another on 82 minutes, before James Rodríguez rounded off a resounding victory two minutes from time.
There will be some frustration for Yoshida and his teammates given Greece shocked the Côte d’Ivoire, running out 2-1 victors.
However, Colombia proved worthy group winners. They and Greece progress to the knockout stage, while Japan finish bottom of Group C.