Columbia vs Japan / 2018 World Cup – This match is the first one in the Group H for which it can be said that is the most equal of all. It is very important both for Columbia and Japan given that besides them are in the group Poland and Senegal, which both want to reach the round of 16. The Columbians had turbulent qualifications although they are one of the best South American teams if we judge by individual quality. The Japanese are regular at World Cups but they usually lose steam already in the group phase. Columbia played well in the preparatory period although it drew last two matches, while Japan struggled but it won the last friendly. Four years ago at the World Cup in Brazil Columbia won Japan 4-1. Begins: 19.06.2018 – 14:00 CET
Individually, Columbia is indeed a very good team but despite that they have crisis periods when they simply play badly. The crisis struck them at the beginning of qualifications for the World Cup but after it they played excellently and it seemed that will effortlessly qualify for Russia. Still, several unexpected defeats caused that the last match with Peru decides about their fate. It turned out that Columbia needed a draw to go to Russia, just like the Peruvians who needed the same result to reach the play-off, and the match indeed was draw.
After the qualifications Columbia showed several faces and it lost friendly with South Korea, but it defeated very strong France and outclassed Chine by 4-0. It drew last two preparatory matches without scoring a goal, with Australia and Egypt, which means there is reason to worry as they struggle to score. Something like that shouldn’t happened to team that has in its ranks forwards like Falcao,Bacca or Muriel, and on top of it there is excellent midfielder and the best player of this team J. Rodriguez. Despite large choice of forwards manager Pekerman often send just one on the pitch. Now against Japan, Muriel could play alongside Falcao, all in order to finally start scoring goals.
Probable lineups Columbia: Ospina – Arias, Y. Mina, D. Sanchez, Mojica – C. Sanchez, Barrios – Ju. Guadrado, J. Rodriguez, Muriel – Falcao
One of teams that has good reason to be worried ahead of the World Cup is Japan. The Japanese didn’t have too much trouble to qualify although they lost two matches, however, they could play the last match without any worries which is why the defeat was totally painless. In that way the Japanese continued tradition to qualify for the final tournament where they have been regular since 1998, although they never made a noteworthy result and were usually eliminated in the group phase the round of 16 the latest. They didn’t do any better even when they were the hosts in 2002, while four years ago they had won just one point in three group matches, when they suffered a heavy defeat right by Columbia.
The problems for the Japanese started to pile up right after the qualifications, or more precisely during a series of friendlies when they couldn’t win anyone. That was the stated reason why they totally unexpectedly replaced manager Halilhodzic and not that is Akiro Nishino, but he also lost two matches as manager as Japan lost to Ghana and Switzerland by 2-0. Hope that could make a better result at the World Cup was put back in life by victory over Paraguay, which was the last friendly. Nothing went smoothly but in the end Japan won by 4-2. Inui was back in the team and he scored two goals, while forward Asano was left on the bench. Kagawa, Honda and Okazaki are Japan’s biggest hopes.
Probable lineups Japan: Kawashima – H. Sakai, Yoshida, Makino, Nagatomo – Hasebe, Yamaguchi – Honda, Kagawa, Inui – Okazaki
Columbia vs Japan PICK
Neither team shone in the preparation period but Columbia did show more as it lost with more difficulty. The Columbians are better individually, while the Japanese hope that can do something with their combativeness; still, we expect that Columbia wins.
Pick: Columbia wins
Odds: 1.71 at 10bet (down to 1.-60 can be played)