Two nations that had faced off against each other at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil are set for another meeting, with Colombia looking to take on Japan at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. Although they had failed to deliver a desirable performance during the last four matches of the qualifying tournament, the Coffee Growers managed to secure their second consecutive World Cup appearance after finishing fourth in the CONMEBOL qualifying group. Colombia played for warm-up games in 2018 as part of the preparation for the final tournament, once again struggling to leave up to expectations, as they’ve failed to score a goal against Australia and Egypt. On the other hand, Japan that advanced to the World Cup from the top spot in AFC qualifying Group B have been going through a nightmarish couple of months, losing three out of a total of five friendlies they’ve been involved in this year. The Samurai Blue’s only victory during the preparation period was against Paraguay, whom they’ve managed to defeat by four goals to two.
Radamel Falcao, who had missed the previous World Cup due to a severe injury, is now expected to start from the first minute in the heart of the attack, with James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado foresaw as two players that should orchestrate Colombia’s movements upfront. As for Japan, Akira Nishino has opted for an experienced line-up that should see Honda, Hasebe, Okazaki, and Endo, all featuring in the starting eleven.
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