Japan vs Colombia: World Cup 2014 match preview
A look ahead to Japan’s effort to join Colombia to the Round of 16
Monday 23 June 2014
It is mission accomplished for Colombia as Los Cafeteros have gathered enough points to qualify to the Round of 16, however first place is not for certain as a blunder against Japan could be costly if Ivory Coast beat Greece in Fortaleza with a lengthy score.
Nevertheless, Jose Pekerman feels comfortable enough to rest a couple of players ahead of the next round as team captain Mario Yepes along with the impressive winger Juan Cuadrado will sit that one out.
Porto striker Jackson Martinez is expected to start alongside Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca, while Juventus midfielder Fredy Guarin could feature in the starting line-up as well.
Japan desperately need a win, as well as a gift from Greece, and manager Alberto Zaccheroni is fortunate enough to be dealing with no injuries or suspensions.
Manchester United attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa is possibly starting and the same goes for the experienced midfielder Yasuhito Endo, whereas much will be expected by the team’s star Keisuke Honda who will be pulling the strings in the attack.
Japan's Keisuke Honda, centre, training with teammates
KICK-OFF: Tuesday, 9pm
PAST TWO MEETINGS…
Japan 0 Colombia 0, International Friendly, June 2007
Japan 0 Colombia 1 (Hernandez), Confederations Cup, June 2003
Japan have never beaten Colombia before.
AC Milan attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda has been involved in four out of Japan’s last five World Cup goals as he has scored three times and produced one assist.
Colombia have equalled their World Cup goal record as they have scored five times, just like in 1962.
Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado has provided three assists in a World Cup, which is more than any other Colombian footballer.
Japan to win: 3.1
Colombia to win: 2.37
TV: Live on BBC One at 9pm
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