Group H kicked off with Japan pulling off a famous victory against a 10 man Colombia after Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a deliberate handball in the 3rd minute.
Japan take advantage of Group H
Japan got off to a win in Group H against a solid Colombia side. An early attack from Japan saw Colombia panic, as Carlos Sanchez stuck out his hand to stop the ball from going into the back of the net. Sanchez was promptly sent off and Japan were awarded a penalty. Shinji Kagawa stepped up to put Japan into the lead early on.
As the first half went on, the Colombian team grew into the game. Although Japan winger Inui missed a good chance not long after Japan’s first goal, Colombia were the next team to score. Colombian striker Falcao won a controversial free-kick and Juan Fernando Quintero converted the set piece with a driven shot under the wall. Half time couldn’t come soon enough for Japan as they finished the first half looking the weaker side, despite having an advantage in numbers.
The second half looked completely different as Japan looked to be the only side threatening after the break. Japan had a confident second half and threatened the Colombian goal time and time again. Japan finally took the lead in the 73rd minute with a corner delivered by Japan legend Keisuke Honda and converted by Yuya Osako. Although Colombia threatened late on, Japan managed to hold on. This was Japan’s 5th win at the World Cup. The determined Japanese side saw out the game with a solid defensive effort.
Man of the Match
Many Japanese players put in a great effort in order to see out the game. One player which particularly stood out was winger Takashi Inui. The Japanese winger put in a determined performance as Inui consistently caused the Colombian defence several problems. Inui missed a few good chances, but kept causing problems down the wing. He helped the team put in a spirited performance to help them pick up their first points of the tournament.