Colombia v Japan – 19.06.2018 – Betting Tip
Colombia will start their World Cup run on Tuesday afternoon playing arguably the weakest side of the group, Japan. The group is generally fairly open with the likes of Senegal and Poland keeping realistic chances of advancing as well (at least on paper).
Japan would have likely been genuine contenders to pass the group, but a series of rather odd occasions which caused the managerial change seriously affected team’s momentum and ambitions in Russia.
The opening affair against the South American hopefuls will show the capabilities of the highly-experienced Japanese side, but there’s just not too much the new head coach Akira Nishino has to be optimistic for ahead of his debut at the biggest stage.
Los Cafeteros will hardly be able to match the success from the previous edition when their attractive attacking style led them as far as the last eight where they eventually fell to the host nation Brazil. The man who inspired such progression, Jose Pekerman, is still there, but he has a whole new lot of players as only 10 of 23 men from the 2014 squad found their place on the plane to Russia.
The good news for the Argentine head coach is that he will be able to count on Radamel Falcao who saved his career with a couple of strong seasons with Monaco. The talisman skipped the tournament in Brazil through injury, but will lead the line this time out for Los Cafeteros.
It will be interesting to see how the Rodriguez-Falcao partnership will do at this World Cup. There are definitely prospects of a promising build-up play between the two following their fine campaigns for their respective clubs this season. James, who is responsible for the creativity up front, notched 7 goals and provided 11 assists in 23 appearances for Bayern Munich in Bundesliga, while Radamel Falcao bagged as many as 18 goals for Les Monegasques.
Japan had a dismal campaign four years ago in Brazil clinching no more than a single point in three group stage matches (a goalless draw to Greece). They did top their respective qualifying group in the Asian zone above the likes of Saudi Arabia and Australia, but it was the Bosnian manager Vahid Halilhodzic who led them through the process.
The coach who earned the last 16 round with Algeria at the previous World Cup clearly had certain misunderstandings with the board in Japan which is why he got fired after subsequent defeats in friendlies against Belgium, Brazil and Ukraine. Allegedly, the main reasons was hidden behind troubles in communication with team’s star men Shinji Kagawa, Shinji Okazaki and Keisuke Honda who all skipped mentioned friendlies.
The former technical director Akira Nishino came as a rescue solution, but Samurai Blue did not impress at all in three internationals under his guidance. Japan failed to find the back of the net in consecutive defeats to Ghana and Switzerland before bagging four in the 4-2 victory over Paraguay in the final warm-up before the World Cup.
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Japanese fans can certainly still remember the painful defeat their national outfit suffered in the third round of the group stage four years ago. Colombia notched as many as four goals in a demolishing 4-1 victory back then.
Overall, Los Cafeteros have been much more successful in the short history of H2H meetings with Japan. The Colombians took a narrow 1-0 victory at the Confederations Cup in 2003, while teams shared spoils in a goalless draw at the Kirin Cup clash three years later.
Japan thus scored only a single goal in three matches against Colombia and we feel the Asian outfit may struggle to fix such record when teams take on each other for the fourth time here in Russia.
Out Tips and Predictions
Colombia may have disappointed attackingly in their most recent set of friendlies playing back-to-back goalless draws to Australia and Egypt, but Pekerman has reasons to be satisfied because of the solidity his back line showed in the process. Los Cafeteros did not concede a single goal in three of last four friendlies and knowing about Japanese attacking woes, we just have to back Colombia to win to nil as one of main betting tips at the odds of 7/5 (2.40).
Pekerman has an immense talent in the final third in the likes of Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao who certainly possess quality to break the vulnerable defensive line of Samurai Blue. Punters who prefer safer options can go for Colombia’s win at 8/11 (1.72), but we will be brave enough and take advantage of the huge-value 9/5 (2.80) odds betting sites in Kenya offer for Los Cafeteros to win by two or more goals difference.