Colombia vs Japan
Competition: 2018 World Cup finals
Date: 19 June 2018
Kick-off: 14:00 CET
James Rodríguez was… diagnosed with muscle fatigue a few days ago, and missed a training, which cast doubts over his presence in Colombia’s opening game in the World Cup finals. Only coach José Pekerman knows what his plan is about his start midfielder, but he should start him, as he got some rest these last days. Colombia lost Fabra, Boca Juniors’ full-back, a week ago. Veteran Farid Díaz was called up to fill the gap. Colombia played just one friendly game since March, they drew 0-0 with Egypt over two weeks ago. They chose to focus on training, and it remains to be seen if their choice was a wise one. Their most impressive result was that 3-2 victory over France in Paris back in March.
Japan sacked their previous coach in April, meaning that Nishino, the guy who has been in charge since then, had two months to come up with a plan for the World Cup finals. They played three friendly games the last three weeks, losing to Ghana and Switzerland, and, ironically, beating Paraguay (4-2!) in their last game, playing with several reserves. Given that they have a relatively new coach who changed his lineup and formation several times these last three weeks, it’s hard to try guess how they will play. One thing is for sure, they have a lot of quality players. Leicester City’s Okazaki is troubled by a calf injury, but he could still play.
Previous five matches:
Egypt vs Colombia 0-0
Colombia vs Australia 0-0
France vs Colombia 2-3
China vs Colombia 0-4
South Korea vs Colombia 2-1
Japan vs Paraguay 4-2
Switzerland vs Japan 2-0
Japan vs Ghana 0-2
Japan vs Ukraine 1-2
Japan vs Mali 1-1
Colombia’s next game is against Poland, next Sunday. Same day, Japan will be facing Senegal.
Colombia vs Japan: Head to head Stats
Colombia and Japan have met three times before, all in the last 15 years. In 2003, in the Confederations Cup, Colombia won 1-0. Their 2007 friendly match ended in a goalless draw. Last, in 2014, in Brazil’s World Cup finals, Colombia won again (more like… triumphed), 4-1, in the group stage.
Colombia vs Japan: Prediction
I expect Colombia to win, and score at least twice.
Colombia vs Japan: Betting Tips
A simple Colombia win pays 1.66. Their “over 1.5” is at 1.90.