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Colombia can’t overcome early red card, fall to Japan 2-1

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Goals, Colombia red card news, plus latest injury update from James Rodriguez.

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Colombia Open Training Session Photo by Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images


Group H has gotten off to a wild start.

Japan beat Colombia 2-1 on Tuesday in a game that had all of the banter one could desire. The main talking point came early, when Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez received a red card in the third minute, giving Japan a penalty kick which Shinji Kagawa finished cooly. Colombia fought back down a man, however, tying the game up … only to give up another goal on another set piece in the second half.

The first half had everything — a red card, penalty kick, free kick goal, back and forth action, more banter than you could handle. The news heading into the game was James Rodriguez wasn’t going to play because of a calf injury (more on that below), but after that, it was total chaos.

A third minute red card to Carlos Sanchez for stopping a Japan shot with his right arm led to a Shinji Kagawa penalty and a Japan lead. Colombia fought back with 10 men, and earned an equalizer when a semi-questionable call on Radamel Falcao led to a free kick for Quintero, who cheekily placed it under the wall. See all the highlights below.

The second half was an exciting and even affair, with Colombia making some inspired substitutions — including bringing on James Rodriguez in the 59th minute, even though he was fighting through a calf injury.

Colombia had their chances, but it was Japan who broke the deadlock off a corner kick into a scrum, which saw Osako elevate over his defender and head the ball off the far post. Colombia threw caution to the wind for the last 15 minutes, but despite a few chances, they couldn’t break the deadlock.


3’ Colombia red card to Carlos Sanchez, Shinji Kagawa converts the penalty, Japan 1 - Colombia 0

Oh Carlos Sanchez, what were you thinking? A Japan break leads to an open shot, and Carlos Sanchez decides to block it with his arm. Red card.

Then Kagawa converted the penalty.

39’ Goal Colombia, and it’s a brilliant free kick from Quintero! Japan 1 - Colombia 1

59’ James Rodriguez substitutes in despite battling calf injury

Before the game, the news was that Rodriguez couldn’t pass a fitness test and wouldn’t start for Colombia as he was dealing with a calf strain. Apparently the injury isn’t so bad that he can’t play at all — Rodriguez just subbed in for goalscorer Quintero with 30 minutes to play and will look to get Colombia a winner.

73’ Goal for Japan! And it’s Osako with a header off a corner kick. Japan 2 - Colombia 1.

The set piece goals are adding up at this world cup.

Colombia Lineup and Japan Lineup

Why is James Rodriguez not playing for Colombia?

In the run up to this tournament, the Colombia team was tight lipped about the fitness of James Rodriguez, saying he was battling muscle fatigue. But news leaked out that he was actually trying to recover from a calf strain he suffered in the lead up to the World Cup, and wasn’t able to pass a fitness test nor participate in Colombia’s last training session before the Japan game.


Colombia and Japan will continue play for the group stage of the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday. The match is set for 8 a.m. ET in the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia, and you can watch the game on FOX and Telemundo. Online streaming is also available in English through FOX here or in Spanish through Telemundo here.

In Japan’s sixth World Cup appearance, the team will look to midfielder Keisuke Honda for success and a shot at making it to the Round of 16. Colombia won’t be able to rely on James Rodriguez in the opener, as the attacking player was deemed not fit enough to make the starting XI.

This is the first matchup of the group, so both teams are looking for the coveted win to place them at the top of Group H.

Colombia vs. Japan Time, TV channel, and streaming info

Time: 8 a.m. ET

Location: Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia

TV: FOX, Telemundo

Streaming: Available for free with TV provider through FOX Sports Go (English) or Telemundo Deportes en vivo (Spanish). Also available on subscriptions services like Fubo and Hulu.

Odds: Colombia -0.5 (Full odds at OddsShark)


Colombia will need more from Falcao

With James Rodriguez unavailable due to injury, Colombia will need a bit more from their captain Radamel Falcao, who’s seen a resurgence of play over the past few seasons. The tough and speedy striker would have wanted to be running off passes from James this World Cup, but in the first game at least, it appears he’ll need to produce more by himself.

Japan will look to Shinji Kagawa to make stuff happen

Japan is a team that’s slightly on the older side, but one player absolutely still in his prime is Shinji Kagawa, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder/attacker who will play the creative role for the Japan side. Against Colombia, this team will most likely play physically, stay organized, and look for Kagawa to create on the counter attack.

Colombia vs. Japan news to read before kickoff

Falcao to debut at World Cup when Colombia faces Japan

With Radamel Falcao finally healthy enough to play in his first World Cup, Colombia is trying to get accustomed to handling higher expectations. Heading into its tournament opener against Japan on Tuesday, Colombia is no longer the upstart Cinderella story they became four years ago in Brazil, when they advanced to the quarterfinals despite Falcao’s absence.

Earthquake at home, false alarm at hotel disturb Japan’s World Cup team

Japan players received a disturbing news ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup opener against Colombia in Saransk. They got to know that Osaka, which is Japan’s second-largest city, was hit by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake, killing three people and injuring over 300.