Japan beat Colombia 2-1 in their FIFA World Cup Group H preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia on Tuesday. Shinji Kagawa scored an early penalty in the 6th minute to give Japan a 1-0 lead. Quintero equalized for Colombia in the 39th minute. Quintero scored after a low free kick that beat Japan goalie Eiji Kawashima.
Japan retook the lead through Osako in the 73rd minute 2-1 for the first World Cup win for an AFC nation against CONMEBOL (South American) opposition. Osako scored after a corner kick taken by Keisuke Honda.The Japanese striker headed the ball inside Colombia’s goalkeeper David Ospina’s left post. Osako somehow managed to leap highest in a packed penalty area to glance in from a perfectly-flighted corner.
Colombia has been down to 10 men since defender Carlos Sanchez was sent off at 3 minutes. Sanchez suffered the second earliest World Cup red card in history. Midfielder Carlos Sanchez received a red card for handling a goal-bound shot.
Tough start for Jose Pekerman’s men. The plan for the game changed after that red card for Carlos Sanchez – the most important cog in the Colombia midfield – and an early goal from Japan. Colombia never gave up, and tried to generate some offensive plays with Cuadrado, Quintero and Izquierdo in the first half. Even with James coming on as a sub in the second half, Los Cafeteros still struggled to reach Japan’s defensive third. Japan, on the other hand, were constantly pressing and found spaces between a backline that was debuting today.
After holding off a handful of final attacks from Colombia, Japan get their revenge for that heavy defeat four years ago in Brazil 2014 when Colombia beat Japan 4-1 in the group stage..
“It is tough to lose a player so early, especially one so important. Despite that we came back in the second half. But with Japan having an extra player, it was very hard to recover possession.” Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said after the game.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.