FIFA WC: Colombia face Japan, Poland to meet Senegal

Ross Houston
June 19, 2018

The Japan team is also well aware of the threat posed by 2014 Golden Boot victor and Colombian playmaker James Rodrigues, who is struggling to be fit for this year's action. Other potential match-winners in the Colombian line-up are Radamel Falcao, Juan Quintero, Jose Izquierdo and Mateus Uribe.

"Some of the players were delicate and nervous and some of them looked a little bit exhausted in the morning", Nishino added.

"Every team has great players, the most important thing for us is to work well collectively", goalkeeper David Ospina said.

Colombia's triumphs in the past World Cup included a 4-1 victory over Japan in the final game of group play.

- Japan have won only two of their last 11 World Cup games (D3 L6), against Cameroon and Denmark in June 2010.

James Rodriguez will not play for Colombia in their World Cup opener against Japan in Saransk, Russia on Tuesday after injuring his left calf in training.

With Robert Lewandowski-led Poland and Senegal also to come in the group, Japan need a good start.

"Despite that, I think we will cope", said Japan captain Makoto Hasebe.

And Eiji Kawashima, who let those four goals in, says it is time to for Japan to make amends, with retribution on their minds ahead of the meeting in Saransk.

"We want to do as well or better, but we have to focus on each match", Pekerman said.

"Kolarov scored a wonderful goal and we gave him a prize - a certificate for a Lada 4x4", acting governor Dmitry Azarov was quoted as saying by the Izvestia newpaper".

Senegal is returning to the World Cup for the first time since a thrilling run to the quarterfinals on its tournament debut in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

"We have to take the initiative".

Defender Yuto Nagatomo told the newspaper: "Whether (Rodriguez) plays or not, no matter who lines up for our opponents, the way we approach the game doesn't change".

"Our rivals are going to try to neutralise our best players, so we have to support them".

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