Colombia vs Japan
Monday 19th June 2018
FIFA World Cup 2018, Group H, Mordovia Arena, Saransk
Live on BBC 1 – Kick-Off: 13:00
Colombia vs Japan – In an extremely competitive Group H, 2014 quarter-finalists Colombia face Japan looking to justify their status as favourites to qualify.
Colombia are sweating on the fitness of Bayern Munich star, and 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner, James Rodriguez. The attacking midfielder netted six goals in CONMEBOL qualifying as Colombia finished fourth, behind Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Jose Pekerman’s side truly impressed at Brazil in four years ago. A 4-1 victory in this fixture the peak of the sumptuous attacking football seen. A repeat of that result is a boosted 50/1 with SkyBet. Colombia crashed out to the hosts last time but are strongly fancied to go just as far in Russia.
However, this will be a different sort of test. It may be Los Cofiteros’ best team in decades but that sort of tag brings its own pressures. Winning just twice in the past nine games isn’t ideal pre-tournament form either. After missing the last World Cup through injury, Colombia will, however, be able to call upon record goalscorer Radamel Falcao.
Falcao failed to impress in England but has been on fire upon returning to parent club AS Monaco. 54 goals in 79 appearances over the past two seasons is a brilliant return, and as a result has been installed as captain. Falcao to score first and Colombia to win 1-0 is a tasty 22/1 with SkyBet.
Group H should prove a massive challenge for Japan to navigate. Two capable teams in Poland and Senegal make up the rest of the group, seeing Japan labelled as the underdogs.
The Blue Samurai topped Group B in Round Three of the Asian Confederation’s World Cup qualifying. Both Saudi Arabia and Australia (who needed a play-off) finished a point behind.
Japan’s biggest pre-World Cup news is that they sacked manager Vahid Halilhodzic and gave the reigns to Akira Nishino. Nishino got the qualification job done by guiding the country through to their sixth successive World Cup. However, somewhat of a stir has been caused by dropping star Shinji Kagawa.
Kagawa isn’t the only big name in the team though. 2015/16 Premier League winner Shinji Okazaki and cult hero Keisuke Honda are both in the ranks. The latter has been involved in five of Japan’s six goals at the previous two World Cups and if Japan were to cause a shock the ageing playmaker, now 32 and at Mexican side Pachuca, will surely be at the heart of it.
Japan to win, 11+ match corners and 50+ match booking points is an outrageous 100/1 with SkyBet. How’s your luck?
Colombia are unbeaten in all of their previous three meetings against Japan, and *should* have enough quality to ensure victory. Pekerman’s team might need to with how close this group promises to be.
Colombia vs Japan will be televised live in the UK on BBC 1. Kick off is at 19th June 13:00 BST, Mordovia Arena, Saransk.
Prediction – Colombia 2-0 Japan
Suggested Tips – Colombia vs Japan – (BET365):
- Correct score: Colombia to win 2-0 – (link no longer available).
Suggested Tips – Colombia vs Japan – (SKYBET):
- Falcao to score first – 2/1.
- Price Boost – Falcao 2 shots on Target and 1+ Offside – 5/1.
- RequestABet Up to 10/1 – Over 1.5 Goals, 5+ Colombia Corners, 3+ Japan Corners and 10+ booking points each team – 4/1 (NAP).
- RequestABet Up to 10/1 – Draw 0-0 and 0 booking points – 125/1 (cover).
- Scorecast Boost: Falcao to score first and Colombia win 1-0 – 22/1.
Don’t forget – we will be previewing as many if not all the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group Stage games. Keep visiting Tips and Previews ahead of games to get our suggested tips and correct score picks for the games.