Colombia vs. Japan
|Date & Time||Tuesday June 19, 2018, 8:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Colombia -139 / Japan +504 / Draw +259 -- Over/Under: 2
Japan and Colombia meet Tuesday in World Cup soccer action at Mordovia Arena.
Japan enters this tournament as one of the more experienced World Cup teams, as it has made the trip every time since 1998 and has made it out of the group stages twice in its last four appearances. Japan also has seven players with over 80 caps under its belt, including Shinji Okazaki, who leads the charge with 113 caps. Experience can be the one thing that gives Japan a fighting chance in this tournament, as this club has been through everything together and knows what it takes to win. On the flip side, there’s a lot of outside noise going on with Japan, and it seems to not have gotten any better with the recent firing of Vahid Halilhodzic. There’s not a lot of time to get used to the way Akira Nishino wants things done, and even the fan base has kind of turned its back on this club according to the numbers. It’s going to be interesting to see where Samurai Blue finds its motivation for this tournament with so much going on off the field.
Colombia was the surprise of the 2014 World Cup when it reached the quarterfinals and finished fifth overall. With many of the key players returning for another shot at the trophy, many see Colombia as an outside dark horse to top the elite in this tournament. Colombia has the firepower to go toe-to-toe with any club in the tournament thanks to James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, two guys who have produced on the biggest of stages and have combined for 50 international goals. Let those two guys go off, and the Coffee Growers are capable of making some serious noise, particularly Rodriguez, who is one of the elite players in this tournament. The downside for Colombia is that it struggles to beat some of the top teams in the world, which will be needed if we’re going to see a final appearance from this squad. Colombia didn’t exactly have a hard draw in 2014 and then struggled as the competition increased.
There’s no previous meetings between these two sides.
I don’t trust Japan given all the outside stuff going on and the lack of confidence as a whole. Colombia is a team loaded with confidence right now and eager to prove that its 2014 run wasn’t a fluke. Colombia has the top tier talent to expose Japan defensively, and there’s not that one guy who can counter such an onslaught. This is likely a quick trip for the Japanese.
Colombia gets three points.