Los Cafeteros take on Asian giants Japan on Tuesday to start their World Cup adventure as they will be eyeing to top the Group H. Japan on the other side will be carrying Asian pride and will like to emulate what Iran did earlier in the tournament.
Match Details: Colombia vs Japan
Date: 19th June
Time: 17.30 IST
Venue: Mordovia Arena, Saransk
The Colombians are doubtful over the availability of James Rodriguez, as the Bayern player is struggling with a muscle problem and has missed training for a week now. Eyes will be on whether the former Real Madrid player gets a game against Japan. Johan Mojica is set to deputise at left back for Frank Fabra, who is out of the tournament due to a knee injury. David Ospina is poised to start in goal and Radamel Falcao will lead the line.
For Japan, striker Shinji Okazaki is expected to miss due to a calf problem. Osako is expected to start as the man upfront while a four men defense will consist Maya Yoshida and Sakai. Keisuke Honda, the former AC Milan midfielder who currently plays for Pachuca in Mexico is also expected to start.
Japan have never won against a South American side in World Cup and will be looking to end that run of form on Tuesday. The Latin Americans do have the flair and they also are in good vein of form coming to the tournament, and are unbeaten against Japan (W2 D1). Their only previous World Cup encounter produced a 4-1 win for Colombia in June 2014, it was also Japan’s last game in the tournament. It will be a pivotal match for both of them as top spot is up for grabs. It has to be seen how Colombia can cope up in the absence of James, who was their star in the last World Cup.
Probable Line Up:
Colombia: Ospina; Arias, Mina, Sanchez, Mojica; Aguilar, Carlos Sanchez, Cuadrado, Izquierdo; Muriel, Radamel Falcao
Japan: Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Makino, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Shibasaki, Haraguchi, Keisuke Honda, Inui; Osako
The match will be televised live on SONY TEN 2 and TEN 3 from 17.30 IST on Tuesday for the Indian viewers. It can also be seen in the SONY LIV app.