Day 6 will see the final 2 games from the first round of group matches played, headed by this opening Group H clash between Colombia and Japan at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk.
What’s their current form?
Since qualifying for the FIFA World Cup back in October last year, Colombia has played just 5 games, three of which have been this year, where they beat France 3-2 before scoring back-to-back scoreless draws with Australia and Egypt.
Japan have been in less than desirable form since qualifying last September, scoring 4 wins against New Zealand 2-1, Korea DPR 1-0, China PR 2-1 and Paraguay last week by 4-2. They had a 1 all draw with Mali and losses to Brazil 3-1, Belgium 1-0, Korea Rep. 4-1, Ukraine 2-1, Ghana 2-0 and Switzerland 2-0.
Colombia: Ospina; Arias, Zapata, D.Sanchez, Mojica; Aguillar, C.Sanchez; Cuadrado, Rodriguez, Muriel; Falcao.
Japan: Kawashima; Endo, Ueda, Shoji, Sakai; Shibasaki, Yamaguchi; Muto, Kagawa, Inui; Okazaki.
Any interesting facts I should know?
Colombia ranked 4th in their qualifying tournament, which was just enough to see them advance to the World Cup. They had 7 wins, 6 draws and 5 losses, pipping the likes of Peru, Chile and Paraguay narrowly. Japan topped their qualifying group on the back of their stingy defence and ability to put away the weaker sides.
What should I be betting on?
Colombia will be fresh due to limited matches this year, while Japan has had some poor form this year. Colombia should would here in a narrow contest.
Arguably the most open group, Japan will have strong aspirations about qualifying for the knockout stages. The Wolf does not share the same opinion. They have traditionally struggled on European soil and have never won a World Cup match on the continent. They finished 31st in France 1998 and 28th in Germany in 2006. Colombia also handed them a football lesson 4 years ago in Brazil where it ended 4-1 in favour of the South Americans. That was the coming out party of James Rodriguez. His 6 goals in 5 games earned him the Golden Boot. He has 21 goals in 63 appearances for his country and will no doubt be adding to his tally in Russia. The Wolf is expecting a very open affair. Over 2.5 goals is 4-1 in Colombia’s last 5 World Cup matches while Japan have a large portion of their squad playing in Germany. That includes the likes of Kagawa, Hasebe and Haraguchi to go with Honda and Okazaki who has 50 goals for his country. Both sides will score but Japan’s poor record in Europe will continue to haunt them.
TV channel, kick-off time, betting odds, tips, live stream and team news
What time is kick off? The game starts at 3pm (local time) on June 19. In Australia, kick-off will be at 10pm on June 19th.
What TV Channel is it on and can I live stream it? In Australia, the only network with live broadcast rights is SBS. SBS Radio will also cover games that aren’t broadcast. Optus Sport in Australia will broadcast every game live as well via live streaming, however it will be available to subscribers only.
What’s the team news and who’s injured? Juan Cuadrado looks to have overcome a thigh injury and is expected to line up for Colombia in this match. Japan have no injury concerns.
Who’s the referee? Not yet announced.
What happened the last time they played each other? These sides have on three occasions. Colombia won 1-0 in 2003, then they played out a scoreless draw in 2007 before Colombia romped home with a 4-1 win in the 2014 World Cup.