Colombia suffer opening loss to Japan

Read article contents
Increase size

Despite a strong effort, Colombia have lost their opening World Cup match 2-1 against Japan. The South American side fought back from an early red card and penalty, but in the end paid the price for playing 87 minutes with 10 men.

The first setback for the Colombians in fact game before kick-off as Bayern’s James Rodriguez, the Golden Boot winner from 2014, was forced to start from the bench because of a muscle problem. The game had barely begun when the next shock came as referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot and dismissed Carlos Sanchez just three minutes in. Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa converted the penalty to give Japan an early lead.

Jose Pekerman’s side struggled a man down yet did go into half-time level thanks to Juan Quintero’s free-kick. Both sides cancelled each other out in the second half, but Japan once again took the lead in the 73rd minute thanks to Yuya Osako’s header from a corner. James, who came on with 30 minutes to play, had a good chance to equalise with 10 minutes remaining, but his effort from a promising position was blocked at the last second by a Japanese defender.

James and his team are in action again on Sunday (20.00) when he faces FCB teammate Robert Lewandowski’s Poland. Colombia’s final group game is against Senegal on Thursday (16.00).