FIFA's showpiece event continue as Colombia face Japan at Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Tuesday. Both the sides will play the first game of Group H. Colombian coach Jose Pekerman will be looking forward to the campaign as this will probably be his last World Cup after six memorable years of service for the South American side.
Colombia had a World Cup to remember four years ago in Brazil, reaching the quarter finals. His record so far in the previous editions of the world cup is of 7 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss.
Whereas, Japan are not in a good form and a decision to change the head coach just two months before the World Cup is still termed as 'controversial'. The Samurai managed to beat Paraguay 4-2 in the last friendly and will hope that it would be the timely morale-booster required for the World Cup.
Highlights of Colombia vs Japan:
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Key stats from #COLJPN:June 19, 2018
# Damir Skomina is looking at his watch and blows the FULL TIME whistle!
# 90+4' A yellow card is received by Eiji Kawashima (Japan)
# 90+3' Santiago Arias (Colombia) gets on the ball and beats an opponent, but his run is stopped by the referee Damir Skomina who sees an offensive foul.
# 90+3' Davinson Sanchez (Colombia) sends a long ball in, but Eiji Kawashima comfortably gathers the ball.
# 5 min. of stoppage-time to be played.
# 90' Falcao (Colombia) is adjudged to have been offside when making his run.
# 86' James Rodriguez (Colombia) has tested the patience of referee Damir Skomina and goes into the book for a previous late challenge.
# 85' Here is a change. Yuya Osako is going off and Akira Nishino gives the last tactical orders to Shinji Okazaki (Japan).
# 84' The Japan players are exchanging fine passes and are waiting for an opportunity to start an attack, but here's a mistake and a loss of possession.
# 80' Gaku Shibasaki comes off the pitch to be replaced by Hotaru Yamaguchi (Japan).
# 78' Carlos Bacca (Colombia) gets to the rebound just outside the box, but his attempt is blocked by one of the defending players.
# 77' James Rodriguez (Colombia) takes the corner kick but the ball only finds the head of an opponent.
# 77' Falcao (Colombia) looks to break free, but an opposing player clears the ball away. Colombia will take a corner kick.
# 73' GOAL! Keisuke Honda launched the corner kick and superbly found the head of Yuya Osako (Japan), whose accurate header from near the penalty spot went in off the right post. It's 1:2.
# 72' CHANCE! Keisuke Honda (Japan) had an opportunity from long range. His low shot was directed towards the middle of the goal, but David Ospina was alert and made a comfortable save.
# 69' Jose Pekerman decides to make a substitution. Jose Izquierdo will be replaced by Carlos Bacca (Colombia).
# 69' Substitution. Keisuke Honda (Japan) has come on for Shinji Kagawa.
# 68' Another attempt to send the ball beyond the defence by Takashi Inui (Japan) is thwarted and cleared to safety.
# 66' Gaku Shibasaki (Japan) takes the corner but only sends it into a huddle of the defenders and one of them makes a good clearance.
# 66' Genki Haraguchi (Japan) attempts to find the head of one of his teammates with a promising cross into the box, but a defender outjumps the attackers and averts the threat. Japan earn a corner.
# 66' Takashi Inui (Japan) goes on a mazy run and ends with a shot from the edge of the box, but a defender makes a decent block.
# 64' This yellow card was deserved. The tackle by Wilmar Barrios (Colombia) was quite harsh and Damir Skomina didn't hesitate to show him a yellow card.
# Goal attempts: Colombia 5-8 Japan
# 61' Hiroki Sakai (Japan) unleashes a shot, but it's well wide of the left-hand post.
# 59' CHANCE! Maya Yoshida (Japan) wastes a great chance as he climbs high around the penalty spot to connect with a cross from the resulting free kick. He produces a header which goes just wide of the left post.
# 58' Juan Quintero will be replaced by James Rodriguez (Colombia).
# 58' Damir Skomina blows his whistle and signals a foul after Oscar Fabian Murillo Murillo (Colombia) brought his opponent down. A free kick is awarded to Japan.
# 57' CHANCE! Takashi Inui (Japan) receives a low pass just outside the box and unleashes a fine strike towards the right post. David Ospina pulls off a reflexive save to block his effort. Nice goalkeeping skill, indeed.
# 55' Gaku Shibasaki (Japan) takes the corner, but the goalkeeper jumps and gathers the ball.
# 54' CHANCE! Yuya Osako (Japan) darts into the penalty area to latch on to a pass, and he unleashes a low drive towards the middle of the net, but David Ospina is alert and denies him.
# The possession stats are Colombia 54-46 Japan
# 51' Gaku Shibasaki (Japan) launches a powerful cross from the corner into the box, but the ball is intercepted by the defender.
# 51' A lofted cross from Yuya Osako (Japan) is unsuccessful as the opponent's defence quickly clears the ball out of the penalty area. The ball is out of play and the linesman points at the corner flag. Corner to Japan.
# 47' Johan Mojica (Colombia) sends a long ball across the pitch, but it misses its target.
# Second half begins!
Key stats from #COLJPN so far:June 19, 2018
HT // #COLJPN
A goal at the start and end of the first half, plus the first red card of the 2018 FIFA #WorldCup
Thoughts on the first 45'? pic.twitter.com/DsNZraXAkn— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 19, 2018
# Damir Skomina has ended the first half by blowing the whistle.
# 1 addition minute to be played!
# 44' Falcao (Colombia) looks to break free, but his touch lets him down and he loses the ball.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 19, 2018
# 39' GOAL! Juan Quintero (Colombia) takes the free kick with a powerful low drive that goes inside the right-hand post and ends up behind the goalkeeper. A real jaw dropper!
# 37' Makoto Hasebe (Japan) gives away a foul for a clumsy challenge. Referee Damir Skomina saw the whole situation. Another situation results in a direct free kick for Colombia.
# 36' Juan Quintero (Colombia) swings in a promising cross from the free kick, but one of the defenders does a perfect job to avert the danger.
# 36' Maya Yoshida (Japan) should know this behaviour is beyond the rules. He was too careless with his challenge and left Damir Skomina no option but to blow his whistle. Colombia earn a free kick.
# 34' CHANCE! Falcao (Colombia) gets on the end of a pass and produces a promising first-time shot at goal. His effort is blocked by Eiji Kawashima with a brilliant diving save!
# 33' Shinji Kagawa (Japan) takes the corner and sends it into the penalty area, but the opposition's defence is ready and makes a good clearance.
# 33' CHANCE! A fine lofted pass into the box, sent by Yuto Nagatomo (Japan), is intercepted by the opposition's defence. It will be a corner kick for Japan.
# 32' Yuya Osako (Japan) finds space inside the box but rifles his effort miles past the right post.
# 31' A surprising substitution! Wilmar Barrios (Colombia) joins the action as a substitute, replacing Juan Cuadrado.
# 26' CHANCE! Juan Cuadrado (Colombia) gets on the end of a pass and takes a shot from the edge of the box, but it's blocked by one of the defending players.
# 25' The resulting corner from Juan Quintero (Colombia) comes to nothing.
# 25' Johan Mojica (Colombia) delivers a promising cross into the box, but it's cleared. Colombia have been awarded a corner kick. The referee and one of his assistants both point at the corner flag.
# 24' Gaku Shibasaki (Japan) sends a beautiful cross into the penalty area, but the opposition's defence manages to clear the ball to safety.
# 24' Takashi Inui (Japan) takes a short free kick.
# 23' Genki Haraguchi (Japan) goes on a solo run, but he fails to create a chance as an opposition player blocks him. The linesman points to the corner flag, Japan are going to take it.
# 22' A pass by Makoto Hasebe (Japan) ends up in no man's land, and the attacking effort comes to an end.
# 20' An attempted cross from Santiago Arias (Colombia) is cleared.
# Here is Japan's first goal!
# 18' Juan Cuadrado (Colombia) skips past his man but can't keep the ball in play.
# 16' Juan Quintero (Colombia) strikes the ball towards goal, but it fails to reach the target after being well blocked by one of the defenders.
# 15' An accurate pass to the edge of the box is well taken by Takashi Inui (Japan), whose instinctive shot towards goal flashes inches wide of the right post.
# 13' CHANCE! Falcao (Colombia) clutches his head in despair after he blew a huge opportunity! He received the ball from the free kick, took a good first touch and unleashed a projectile from close range to the middle of the goal, but Eiji Kawashima makes a nice save.
# 11' Damir Skomina blows the whistle, Makoto Hasebe (Japan) is penalised for a foul. Colombia win a free kick and will be able to apply some pressure on the opposition goal.
🇨🇴 Keep an eye out for "El Cole" amongst the crowd at #COLJPN 👀
Gustavo Llanos has become an unofficial mascot for his team, donning colourfulJune 19, 2018
costumes to represent Colombia's national symbol - the condor.
# 10' Santiago Arias (Colombia) crosses the ball into the box, but one of the defending players averts the threat.
# That was the second quickest Yellow Card in World Cup history!
# 4' GOAL! Shinji Kagawa (Japan) wins the battle of wills and sends an unstoppable penalty low past David Ospina into the middle of the goal.
# 4' The referee blows his whistle after Carlos Sanchez (Colombia) does a good impression of a basketball player and handles the ball. It's a penalty to Japan! Let's see who's going to take it.
# 4' The game is interrupted by the referee. He pulls out a red card and sends Carlos Sanchez (Colombia) off.
# 1' The first half has just begun.
We're under way in Saransk!June 19, 2018
Complete the caption:June 19, 2018
# Let us see what Abel Aguilar (Colombia) has to say!
Another three games today 😊June 19, 2018
# Teams have arrived!
The teams have arrived in Saransk!
Where are you watching #COLJPN?
TV listings 👉 https://t.co/xliHcxWvEO— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 19, 2018
# Colombia Playing XI: Ospina; C. Sanchez, Arias, Murillo, Mojica; Izquierdo, Sanchez, Lerma; Cuadrado, Falcao, Quintero
# Japan Playing XI: Kawashima - Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo - Hasebe, Shibazaki - Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui - Osako.
TEAM NEWS | #COLJPNJune 19, 2018
# It was a big win for Colombia when they met Japan in 2014
They face each other in Saransk today!June 19, 2018
Welcome to News Nation live coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2018! In the first match of the day, Colombia lock horns with Asian powerhouse Japan at Mordovia Arena in Saransk.