Shinji Kagawa's considerable improvement too little too late

Kagawa

Manchester United play-maker Shinji Kagawa finally found some form in Japan's final group game, but it was too little too late.

Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa was the first to admit his performance in Japan's opening game of the World Cup against Ivory Coast was not good enough.

The play-maker's only significant contribution during 86 minutes on the pitch was a single key pass, while his passing accuracy dropped considerably to just 79.6%.

Japan lost that match 2-1 courtesy of two quick-fire goals from Wilfried Bony and Gervinho, and speaking after the game Kagawa admitted he had to do better.

  GoalsGoal AssistKey PassTotal Scoring AttOn-target Scoring AttPass AccuracyMins
Shinji Kagawa 0 0 1 0 0 79.6% 86

As a reflection of his lack of impact in the first game, the United man started Japan's second match against Greece on the bench.  And despite featuring for the final 33 minutes, he failed to make any impact of note, although his pass accuracy was considerably better at 95.5%.

But that alone was not enough to inspire his country to a much-needed win, with the match ending goalless.

  GoalsGoal AssistKey PassTotal Scoring AttOn-target Scoring AttPass AccuracyMins
Shinji Kagawa 0 0 0 0 0 95.5% 33

It is testament to Kagawa that in his country's final match against Colombia he showed what he is capable of, making four key passes and having six scoring attempts (although only one of those was on target).

Suddenly a player who had looked anonymous thus far took the proverbial bull by the horns.  But it was too little too late, with his side losing 4-1 to the strongest team in the group. 

  GoalsGoal AssistKey PassTotal Scoring AttOn-target Scoring AttPass AccuracyMins
Shinji Kagawa 0 0 4 6 1 92.9% 85

If only Kagawa had shown the same kind of form earlier, perhaps Japan would have joined their Group C rivals in the last-16. But as it is, the United fan favourite will return to Old Trafford hoping he gets the chances under Louis van Gaal to show consistently just what a good player he can be.

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