Colombia vs Japan – Preview, Predictions and Betting Tips

World Cup Colombia vs Japan
Match Ended with the score: 1-2
Next game for Colombia is:  Poland Vs Colombia
Next game for Japan is: Japan Vs Senegal

Colombia will be confident of advancing from their World Cup group as they prepare to kick-off their campaign against unfancied Japan at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Tuesday afternoon.

Jose Pekerman’s side were one of the tournament’s bright sparks in Brazil four years ago, reaching the quarter-finals before being knocked out by the hosts. Having retained the nucleus of that squad, Los Cafeteros might feel that the draw opens up the opportunity of sealing back-to-back last-eight appearances – at the very least.

 

Colombia

Draw

Japan

10Bet

20/27

51/20

4/1

BoyleSports

7/10

23/10

7/2

888Sports

4/6

13/5

22/5

 

But qualification was far from a walk in the park and Colombian supporters were biting their fingernails until the very last match – a 1-1 draw in Peru. Stuttering into Russia, Pekerman will hope his star men, like James Rodriguez, will come good at the right time.

In a wide open Group H, they must first see off the challenge of the Japanese. The Samurai Blue’s preparations for the World Cup were thrown into turmoil in April when Vahid Halilhodzic was dismissed and replaced by Akira Nishino. Nishino, who was in charge for Japan’s historic 1-0 victory over Brazil at the 1996 Olympics, is likely to recall several stars who had fallen out of favour under Halilhodzic including Shinji Kagawa.

Predictions

Colombia are arguably the best team in Group H – on paper, at least – with Japan less strong than the other two nations, Poland and Senegal. As such, Japan would likely snap at the opportunity to collect a point from their opener, as the market suggests.

But anything other than a win for Los Cafeteros seems unlikely. Colombia started at breakneck speed four years ago, hammering a very mediocre Greek side 3-0 in their first game.

Odds of 9/1 with Betfair are available for Pekerman’s team to win by three goals again, but more conservative punters can back a simple Colombia victory at 8/11 with William Hill.

 

As for goalscorers, James Rodriguez was the main source of goals for Colombia during CONMEBOL qualifying. The Bayern Munich man scored twice in his final four games at club level this season and he’s at 19/4 with 888Sport to net first against Japan, or 2/1 to score at any time.

Statistics

  • Japan have qualified for all six World Cups since making their debut at France 1998
  • Colombia won just two of their final nine qualifying matches (D5 L2)
  • Genki Haraguchi was Japan’s top scorer during qualifying with four goals –
    • Genki Haraguchi to score first – 17/1
  • Radamel Falcao is Colombia’s all-time top scorer with 29 goals – but scored just twice during World Cup qualifying
  • Only Iran conceded fewer goals than Japan during AFC qualifying for the World Cup (seven goals in ten games)
    • Japan to keep a clean sheet – 7/2

Lineups

Colombia: Radamel Falcao (captain), David Ospina, Cristián Zapata, Óscar Murillo,Santiago Arias, Wílmar Barrios, Carlos Sánchez, Carlos Bacca, Abel Aguilar,  James Rodríguez, Juan Cuadrado, Camilo Vargas, Yerry Mina, Luis Muriel, Mateus Uribe, Jefferson Lerma, Johan Mojica, Frank Fabra, Miguel Borja, Juan Fernando Quintero, José Izquierdo, José Fernando Cuadrado, Dávinson Sánchez.

Japan: Makoto Hasebe (captain), Eiji Kawashima, Naomichi Ueda, Gen Shoji, Keisuke Honda, Yuto Nagatomo, Wataru Endo, Gaku Shibasaki, Genki Haraguchi, Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa, Takashi Usami, Masaaki Higashiguchi, Yoshinori Mutō, Takashi Inui, Yuya Osako, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Ryota Oshima, Hiroki Sakai, Tomoaki Makino, Gōtoku Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Kosuke Nakamura.


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