Colombia vs. Japan - Football Match Report

Hope Soto
June 20, 2018

Japan profited from Colombia's nightmare start to the World Cup as they secured a victory against 10 men in their Group H opener in Saransk, despite James Rodriguez's late introduction.

Japan's victory over group-favourites Colombia has resulted in a first ever victory for an Asian side against a South American team during the World Cup.

Yuya Osako headed in the victor after Juan Quintero's 39th minute free-kick had cancelled out Shinji Kagawa's third minute openee from the spot.

The moment of madness came via an inexplicable handball from Carlos Sanchez as 10-man Colombia slipped to a shock defeat in their opening match in Russian Federation.

But the joy was short lived for Japan as Juan Quintero as Colombia equalised six minutes before the interval when his low free kick squeezed over the line, just past the outstretched hand of diving Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima. Japanese pressure paid off when Osako, who was a constant menace to the Colombia defence, leapt highest from a corner and guided his header in off the post with 17 minutes to go.

Radamel Falcao is set to lead his side out against Japan on Tuesday afternoon, in what will be his first World Cup game at the age of 32. The team joins Mexico, Switzerland and Iceland in earning surprising results.

Japan looked threatening on the counter during the rest of the first half, as the South Americans struggled to deal with playing a man down in midfield and failed to track back to defend.

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Jonathan Evans adapted this story based on the Associated Press news report. The 28-year-old continually made unsafe runs into the box, held the ball up well, and even backtracked to crucially block a close-range shot by Colombia danger man James Rodriguez.

"To score a goal at the World Cup has been a dream for me since I was little, so I was extremely happy", said the 28-year-old striker.

Despite finally retaking the lead, the final minutes were not without incident, a last-ditch sliding block in the box by Osako on Rodriguez allowing Japan to hold their lead and move on to their second Group H match against Senegal on Sunday with three points in the bag.

"If we had actually won the World Cup, we would have had a parade on the main street of Saransk", Japan coach Akira Nishino said. Not only are his team's odds looking grim after just one game, but he's also nursing a calf injury, which is cutting into his minutes. "This is World Cup, it's a huge stage, and I think we started off very well".

With the numerical advantage, Japan did create chances to extend their lead but Takashi Inui and Osako both wasted opportunities from good positions.

World Cup games are known for starting on time, but not this one.

When the game was due to officially start, Falcao walked across to Japan's side of the field and spoke to referee Damir Skomina in a discussion that lasted beyond the official countdown to kickoff.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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