Colombia out to dispatch Japan in Group H

Colombia out to dispatch Japan in Group H
Colombia players Radamel Falcao (center L) and James Rodriguez during a training session

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Jun 18, 2018. 09:39

Colombia will be hoping to open their 2018 FIFA World Cup account with a victory as they tackle Japan on Tuesday.

The Los Cafeteros are set to open this year’s edition with a tough fixture, but will hope for continuity based on their form in their preparations.

As they built their momentum to the global showpiece, they beat France, drew against Egypt and Australia.

The South Americans will be making their sixth appearance at the tournament and will want to do better than their finish four years ago.

Coach Jose Pekerman’s troops finished in the quarter-finals in Brazil 2014 and a finish beyond that stage is foreseen this year as they have prepared better.

For the Japanese, the Samurai Blue will also target a better run this year as they carry the Asian continent’s hopes.

The Japanese will make their sixth appearance and are yet to go beyond the group stages in their history.

A look at their road to Russia, they beat Paraguay 4-2, lost to Switzerland 2-0 and also suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Black Stars of Ghana.

Under the guidance of Akiro Nishino, the East Asians will want to make a name for themselves at a global stage and open their Group H commitments on a high.

On the other hand, this will be the fourth meeting between the two teams. Colombia have two wins and one match ended in a draw.

The encounter will be staged at Mordovia Arena in Russia on Tuesday at 14:00 (CAT).

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