In the Group H’s opening match Japan will clash with Columbia today at 05:30pm IST at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk in FIFA World Cup 2018.
Columbia are the fan favourites and are already the dark horses to enter the competition on the World stage and they are expected to go far ahead in the competition with their form and their outstanding lineup. Columbia will be looking to repeat their earlier performance in Brazil when they demolished Japan in the 2014 quarterfinals, so Colombia will want to kick off their campaign this year with a victory over Japan. Columbian defenders which comprise of Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez and Barcelona’s Yerri Mina and with the addition of Rodriguez and forward Radamel Falcao in the team they are expected to play a crucial role in the upcoming game. Newcomer Rodriguez made his mark back in 2014 when he became the top-most scorer with 6 goals so we can expect a goal from him in this match as well. Columbia’s side looks promising for the FIFA 2018.
On the other hand the Japan team have been suffering from massive upsets where the weak considered underdog teams like Mexico, Sweden, Iceland have been pulling solid performances over the star and fan favourite sides of Brazil, Germany, Argentina. And with South Korea losing the match last night they would try to avoid the same fate as their Korean counterpart. In the game against Sweden, the Korea Republic lost the game with a score of 1-0. So being the neighboring Asian country to Korea the Samurais will have to play harder than ever and keep their defense line and midfield strong if they wish to beat the Columbia from getting the upper hand at the points table of Group H. Japan will have to play without the Leicester star forward Shinji Okazaki who was ruled out of the world cup due to an injury. The absence of Okazaki might have serious implications on the Japan’s attacking power. Hannover forward Takuma Asano will be replacing Okazaki and he has been kept on a standby list. If Japan doesn’t want to get eliminated early from the tournament they will have to win this game as they have even stronger team in Group H with Poland and Senegal waiting in line.
Group H’s opening match’s prediction seeing both the teams records and current status will be moreover on the Columbia’s side and we will be looking at a score of 2-0 before the final whistle. But we can also see a draw with a 1-1 as Japan can score breaking the Columbia’s defense, but that probability is extremely low.
Colombia’s Squad: Ospina, Arias, D. Sanchez, Mina, Fabra, C. Sanchez, Uribe, Cuadrado, James, Cardona, Falcao.
Japan’s Squad: Kawashima, Sakai, Yoshida, Makino, Nagatomo, Hasebe, Yamaguchi, Haraguchi, Honda, Kagawa, Osako.