Japan upsets Colombia 2-1 in World Cup opener
Colombia came into this game as the favorites to not just win this game, but the group. Well those plans have now had a bit of a setback. All started when in the opening minutes of the match; in the 3rd minute Carlos Sanchez receives a direct red card for blocking a Japanese shot with his hand in the penalty box, resulting in a penalty for Japan and reducing Colombia to ten players on the pitch. In the 6th minute Shinji Kagawa puts away the penalty and gives Japan an early 1-0. Japan should have taken control of this game since they had an extra player on the pitch, but that was not the case. Possession was about the same for both sides in the first half but the Colombians had more chances. Colombia would finally level the match after having numerous chances in the 39th minute off a free kick by Juan Quintero. With this free kick there have been more direct free kicks scored at this World Cup than at the previous one, 15/64 games have been played so far. In the second half Japan were the better team, finally taking advantage of having an extra player on the pitch. In the 73rd minute Yuya Osako would head in goal off a corner kick to give Japan the 2-1 lead and clinch the game for them. Colombian star James Rodriguez did not start this game due to injury but did come on as a substitute in the 59th minute.
Poland disappoints as Senegal wins 2-1
Poland a team that was put into pot 1, with the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Belgium and France, when the draw was made for the 2018 FIFA World Cup groups back in December 2017 disappoints in their opening game against Senegal. Poland really did play poorly with no creatively in their attack and defense was mediocre at best. Senegal would go in front through an own goal in the 37th minute by Polish defender Thiago Cionek; Senegal would lead 1-0 at halftime. In the 60th minute, after the Poles horribly loss the ball in the middle of the pitch, Niang would increase Senegal’s lead to 2-0. Poland would be able to pull back one in the 86th minute through Grzegorz Krychowiak making it 2-1. Poland will have to play much better if they have hopes of progressing out of this group; their next game is a tough one against Colombia who are also in a must win. Senegal must feel good about getting the three points in their first game and look to continue that momentum into their next game against Japan.
Current Standings in Group H after one game:
- Japan 3 points, +1 Goal Difference
- Senegal 3 points, +1 Goal Difference
- Poland 0 points, -1 Goal Difference
- Colombia 0 points, -1 Goal Difference
Preview for the second games in Group H
Japan vs Senegal June 24th, 2018, Yekaterinburg, Russia
Both teams won their first game of the World Cup and both games none of them were favorited to win. A win for either side in this game will see them secure a place in the round of 16 after two games. Japan did not particularly play well in the first half against Colombia but in the second half they played better, which was expected when Colombia were reduced to ten men. They will look to continue to that play from the second half into this game against Senegal from the first minute. Senegal looked dangerous against Poland on counter attacks thanks to their lighting pace they have in Sadio Mane and M’Baye Niang up top. Look for Senegal to have majority of the chances in this match.
Prediction: Senegal 2-0
Poland vs Colombia June 24th, 2018, Kazan, Russia
Both teams come into this game in a must win situation if they are to keep their World Cup hopes alive. Poland played poorly in their first game and will have to pick up the slack if they are to have a chance in this game. They do have one of the best strikers in the world in Robert Lewandowski but he needs help on the attacking side of the ball in order for him to be productive and scoring goals. Colombia looks to bounce back after their nightmare start to the World Cup. They played very well for a long time, considering they played almost the entire match with ten men. Both teams need a win out of this game and a draw would not be beneficial to either team.
Prediction: Colombia 2-1
Dino Pavleka: @dino_ATL
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