Colombia leave James decision for World Cup opener until last minute

Colombia leave James decision for World Cup opener until last minute

Colombia leave James decision for World Cup opener until last minute

The Japanese are hunting World Cup revenge at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Tuesday after being hammered 4-1 by a James Rodriguez-inspired Colombia in the group stages of Brazil 2014.

A costly mistake by Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez in the opening minutes led to a red card and a penalty, helping Japan take an early lead. It was the second fastest red card in World Cup history.

Juan Quintero's clever low free kick in the 39th minute gave Colombia the equalizer but Yuya Osako leapt above his marker to head a corner into the net for Japan's 73rd-minute victor.

Japan are under huge pressure to perform after a string of underwhelming displays in the weeks leading up to the tournament, during which unpopular Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic was replaced by Akira Nishino. Expect some magic from Robert Lewandowski in possibly his last World Cup for Poland. Other potential match-winners in the Colombian line-up are Radamel Falcao, Juan Quintero, Jose Izquierdo and Mateus Uribe.

Colombia opens up its 2018 World Cup against Japan in hopes of repeating the magical run Los Cafeteros enjoyed four years ago in Brazil.

"They were the first team to qualify for the World Cup, they have players with vast experience".

The grey-feathered tipster called Olivia, who lives at Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi prefecture, predicted that Colombia would beat Group H rivals Japan when they face off in Russian Federation, local media reported yesterday.

"We have to take the initiative. But the fact that Colombia is the first match and Senegal the second - for me, on paper at least they have no chance", said Troussier.

"We think Japan will be a very tough team, we have completely forgotten what happened in the last World Cup", insisted Pekerman, who rarely speaks to the press. "We will try our best to make a good World Cup for ourselves".

Japan are paying $6 for the win in group H while Colombia are around $1.75, with the draw coming in at $3.5.

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