World Cup betting is going to afford Japan a chance to exact a measure of revenge on Colombia, who eliminated them from the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Japan has lost two and drawn one of its previous three meetings against Colombia. “The key to advancing will be our opening game against Colombia,” Japan head coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. “It’s a coincidence because I was just watching footage of one of their games a few days ago. For Japan it will be a chance to get revenge for the last World Cup. ”
19 June 2018 15:00 MSK (UTC+3)
Colombia vs. Japan
Mordovia Arena, Saransk
President of the Japan Football Association Kozo Tashima agreed. “Whoever you are drawn against there are no easy games … but I think the most crucial game will be against Colombia,” he said. Japan made its World Cup debut in France in 1998 buy has only gone beyond the group phase two times. Japan made the second round under Frenchman Philippe Troussier before losing to Turkey in the 2002 finals the country co-hosted with South Korea. The Nippons also made the last 16 for the first time on foreign soil under Takeshi Okada but lost on penalty kicks to Paraguay at the 2010 finals in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Colombia head coach José Pékerman has struggled to find the right blend for his team. And they don’t mean coffee either, but their World Cup betting odds. Pekerman became the kinda G that little homies wanna be like after guiding Colombia to their best-ever World Cup showing in 2014 when they were one of the sensations of the competition. It appeared as if Colombia had finally established themselves as one of the world’s top 10 teams. However, they have made many a lateral move ever since, with disappointing results. Colombia did well enough in the World Cup qualifiers to nab fourth spot in the South American group, but they scored just 21 goals and crawled across the finish line with three draws and a loss in their last four games.
Their scoring issues are all the more concerning considering the team has the likes of Teo Gutierrez, Duvan Zapata, Carlos Bacca and Luis Muriel on the roster. Thus people betting on the World Cup are at loss to explain underperformances such as the Copa America in 2015, when Colombia lost to Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals, as well as the Copa Centenario in 2016, when they failed to score a goal in the quarter-final or semi-final. Pekerman has also had to deal with James Rodriguez’s downturn at club level after his move to Real Madrid didn’t go as expected. The top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, Rodriguez was benched for the better part of the last two seasons and has played only seven Bundesliga games since signing with Bayern Munich this season. Conversely, striker Radamel Falcao has returned to form at AS Monaco, while Juan Cuadrado is ever dangerous on the flank. World Cup betting is filled with stories of teams who have struggled through qualifying and performed well at the tournament itself and Colombia could be just such a case.