Prediction : Colombia to win @1.79
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Colombia and Japan will play the first game of Group H at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. The 2018 World Cup (WC) will probably be the last competition for Coach José Pékerman (Colombia), who will be aiming to leave the South American side with a memorable WC after six years of service.
Pékerman’s men had a great performance four years ago in Brazil, reaching the quarterfinals. Japan is not in good form, and it is yet to be seen whether the decision to change the head coach just two months before the WC kickoff will work out. The ‘Samurai’ managed to beat Paraguay 4-2 in the last friendly – a perfect morale-booster that ended a winless streak of five games.
The two sides met in the last World Cup in Brazil, with Colombia comfortably winning 4-1 in the group stage. Before that game, there’s a record of three more clashes with two draws and another win for the South-Americans.
Colombia vs Japan – Players to watch:
The Colombians remain reliant on James Rodríguez, but he is a born winner and comes into the tournament as the reigning top scorer, so he can certainly handle all the pressure. Falcao is the other player to watch, the striker was absent in Brazil and for what could be his last WC, he will surely give everything. Shinji Kagawa is the main hope for the Japanese. The Dortmund player has always been a vital link between midfield and attack, forming a good relationship with Real Betis’ Inui.
Japan scored more goals (four) in the last game than in their last five matches combined. Although they are undefeated in the last four games (W2, D2), the last time Colombia lost was against an Asian side (South Korea). Colombia’s two last friendly games ended 0-0. We think this game will be a very defensive game. Betting prediction: Colombia will win the game, @1,79 at VIP-IBC. You don’t know where to bet? Do like us, open a Pinnacle account via betting agent, BET-IBC.