Japan stun Colombia to earn historic win
19 Jun 2018
In catching Colombia cold at the Mordovia Arena, Japan earned their first ever win over Los Cafeteros, avenging their 4-1 defeat to the same opponents at Brazil 2014, and picked up three precious points in their bid to advance from Group H.
The game began at a frenetic pace, with Japan forcing a penalty that led to a red card for Colombia defender Carlos Sanchez allowing Shinji Kagawa to put the Asian side ahead from the spot. Cafetero coach Jose Pekerman shuffled his pack to give his side a chance of overcoming their numerical disadvantage and getting back into the game. Battling for every ball, Colombia captain Radamel Falcao earned the free-kick from which Juan Quintero equalised before half-time.
Japan dominated the second half, creating a series of chances before Yuya Osako headed in the winner from a set-piece. This time there was to be no comeback, despite the arrival of James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca on the pitch and a valiant late push by Los Cafeteros.
Team reporter analysis
Alejandra Rueda with Colombia [Follow on Twitter | Facebook]
After having a man sent off and falling behind from the spot early on, Colombia regained their balance thanks to some midfield switches, probing down the flanks and ultimately pulling level. Los Cafeteros were made to suffer by their opponents in the second half, however, and having endured the toughest of starts Falcao and Co now have to ponder their approach to their next two matches.
Hidetoshi Suzuki with Japan [Follow on Twitter | Facebook]
Coach Akira Nishino’s plans worked to perfection as the Samurai Blue got just the result they were hoping for. Pushed on to the back foot after taking the lead, the Japanese were unable to add to it on the counter and conceded an equaliser just before the break. Regaining control after the interval, they carved out several chances before making the points theirs.
Budweiser Man of the Match
Japan forward Yuya Osako was fully involved in the game right from the start, winning the ball to start the move that led to Japan’s early penalty. He then rose above the Colombian defence to nod in his side’s winner.
1 - Quintero became the first Colombia player in history to score at two World Cups. For their part, Japan became the first Asian side to beat South American opposition in the competition’s history.*