(Photo Credits: Reuters)
Japan made an exemplary start to their World Cup campaign at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Tuesday as they defeated Colombia 2-1 in a bid to secure to their places in the knockout stages.
Finally, after a year-long diet of international friendlies, Asian Giants Japan started their World Cup campaign in a brilliant style as they cruised towards the victory over Los Cafeteros. The Japanese presented an epinephrine-fuelled performance for a crowd which included many highly esteemed guests.
The third minute of the game saw Colombian defender Carlos Sanches receiving a red card as he handballed a Shinji Kagawa shot to concede a penalty and earn himself the second-fastest red card in World Cup history.
Kagawa stepped up to convert from the spot and put Blue Samurai’s into the lead, but Colombia managed to get on level terms as Juan Quintero kicked a smart freekick under the Japanese wall to beat goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima at his near post. The second half saw Japan dominating the game and as a result of that Blue Samurai’s got their well-deserved lead in the 73rd minute of the game as Yuya Osako did his job well, getting to the ball and heading it beautifully off the post and in, leaving Colombia stunned.
It’s a huge result for Japan and quite the upset, but a match they deserved to win. Japan plays Senegal next Sunday, while Colombia must gather themselves for Poland on the same day. Colombia and Poland are favorites to qualify from Group H. However tonight’s win is a cracking result for Japan and that will surely motivate them to qualify for the knockout stages.