Osako's header lifts Japan past 10-man Colombia

Doug Mendoza
June 19, 2018

Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in their opening Group H match on Tuesday, the first time an Asian team has overcome a South American one at the World Cup. Shinji Kagawa stepped up, sent David Ospina the wrong way, and slotted home the penalty.

The goal came when, after they had won a free kick on the edge of the box, Quintero waited for the wall to jump and sent a low strike towards the bottom corner which Kawashima was unable to reach until just after it had crossed the line.

The Samurai Blue were in complete control for the next 15 minutes and were almost back in front after Osako got a shot away, which Ospina was equal to on this occasion, as he was when Inui curled one towards the top corner.

The first red card of the tournament has been awarded against Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez for handling a goal-bound shot in the area in the third minute against Japan.

Colombia came out on top 4-1 when these sides last met in a World Cup group match four years ago, but there only looked like being one victor on the basis of the second half.

Shinji Kagawa put Japan ahead
Shinji Kagawa put Japan ahead

Colombia began the game without Rodriguez, a Bayern Munich midfielder who was the leading scorer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

When Osako fired in a shot from Japan's first attack, Sanchez blocked the effort with a raised arm.

Japan, meanwhile, left Shinji Okazaki out of the starting lineup because of a right calf strain, with Yuya Osako starting in his place.

Colombia brought on James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca in a desperate bid to salvage a point but Japan held on for a first win at the World Cup since beating Denmark in 2010. With the "Fubo Premier" bundle, you will get access to all four of the World Cup soccer TV channels in most markets.

Colombia finished fourth in CONMEBOL standings to take the last automatic spot for the cup, while Japan finished second in Group A of AFC qualification. The 29-year old was a key player in Japan's qualification run scoring six goals and will have to be at his best against the South Americans if Japan has a chance of getting out of Group H.

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