Japan defeat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in another upset

The incident has already been compared to Luis Suarez's controversial save on the line at the 2010 World Cup which helped Uruguay beat Ghana in the quarter-finals.

As the 10 men tried to hit back, Santiago Arias got down the right but failed to find Radamel Falcao with his cross, and with 12 minutes gone Falcao came close but his touch to a Quintero free kick was straight at keeper Eiji Kawashima.

The Colombian equaliser served to wake the Samurai Blue out of their slumber, and they did gain a stranglehold on the contest after halftime. "We can make up for this first defeat in the next two matches".

Japan profited from Colombia's nightmare start to the World Cup as they secured a victory against 10 men in their Group H opener in Saransk, despite James Rodriguez's late introduction.

James Rodriguez - who finished the 2014 tournament as top scorer - was left out of Colombia's starting XI due to a muscle injury and the South American side quickly found themselves facing an uphill task.

"The players that I subbed onto the pitch shows that I was not expecting a defensive style of play".

Pekerman also subbed out experienced midfielder Juan Cuadrado earlier than anticipated in response to Sanchez's red card.


After 73 minutes, Japan were within a whisker of restoring their lead when Saki's fierce strike was deflected wide - but they broke through from the resulting corner as Osako headed home off the inside of the post. Perhaps even more significantly than the goal, the referee deemed Sanchez's handball deliberate, and sent the midfielder off.

Osako's 73rd-minute victor means the Japanese avenged their 4-1 mauling in the group stages of Brazil 2014.

After profiting from Colombia's early setback, Nishino stressed to his players the importance of keeping up the pressure on the tiring opposition. Sanchez did his best to get in the way of the ball.

Both sides attacked relentlessly in what was a very open first half hour, Colombia desperately trying to recover from a devastating start.

Going in for the break, Japan looked like a side contemplating potential embarrassment, but they emerged after it an entirely different team, passing the ball more quickly and aggressively. Japan had a troubled run-up to Russian Federation, with Nishino only taking over the helm in April, replacing the sacked Vahid Halilhodzic.

Another day. Another match. He was certainly pleased with the reaction of his midfield players in Saransk.

  • Steve Townsend