Japan makes a winning start to its World Cup campaign

Japan becomes the first Asian nation to defeat a South American nation at the World Cup.

Shinji Kagawa of Japan celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal against Colombia.   -  Getty Images

 

Line-ups:

Colombia: Spina, Arias, Murillo, D Sánchez, Mojica, Lerma, C Sánchez, Ju Cuadrado, Quintero, Izquierdo, Falcao.

Japan: Kawashima, H Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo, Hasebe, Shibasaki, Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui, Osako.

Japan's World Cup opener on Tuesday offers the Asian side an opportunity for revenge against Colombia, as they look to finally banish the bad memories of the 2014 edition in Brazil.

Four years ago, Japan met Colombia in its final group outing knowing it still had a chance of reaching the knockout phase, but they were crushed 4-1 by the South Americans.

As it turned out, any victory that day in Cuiaba would have sent the Samurai Blue through at the expense of Greece.

Key Facts

- Top scorer for Colombia in the 2018 qualifiers and all-time at the World Cup, James has been directly involved in eight of his team's last 10 goals at the finals (six goals, two assists).

- Japan has won only two of its last 11 World Cup games (D3 L6), against Cameroon and Denmark in June 2010. It has also won just one of five opening games in the competition (D1 L3), against Cameroon in 2010.

- None of Colombia's 18 games at the World Cup have ended goalless. In fact, only the United States (33) and Austria (29) have played more games in the competition without ever registering a 0-0.