Our football match prediction:
After playing back-to-back draws with the likes of Australia and Egypt in their last two warm-up games, Colombia will be looking to return to kick off their 2018 World Cup campaign with a win when they take on Japan in Group H at Mordovia Arena. Los cafeteros did well to keep a clean sheet in three of their last four games and we predict that they will rely on their rock-solid defence in Tuesday’s football match. James Rodriguez is undisputedly Colombia’s key player, but striker Radamel Falcao is likely to make life difficult for the opposition defenders as well. Japan do not seem to be on top of their game ahead of their World Cup opener and that is probably the main reason why we are tempted to put our money on the Colombians. In their last meeting at the World Cup finals Colombia rolled over Japan 4-1.
Highlighted Player (James Rodriguez):
James Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder who plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid. The Colombian superstar played for the likes of Envigado and Banfield at the start of his career and he moved to Europe in 2010, joining Portuguese side Porto for a fee of €5.1 million. James scored 25 goals in 63 league appearances with the Dragons and in 2013 he joined Monaco. His transfer to the Ligue 1 side was the second most expensive in the history of Portuguese Primeira Liga (€45 million) and he signed a five-year contract with les Rouges et Blancs. The Colombian ace impressed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and, as a result, Real Madrid chiefs signed him on 22 July, 2014 for an undisclosed fee. However, reports in Spain suggested that the fee was approximately €80 million. Rodriguez scored 13 goals in 29 league appearances for Real Madrid in the 2014/2015 Primera Division campaign and he was in Gareth Bale’s shadow in the 2015/2016 season. James is well known for his technical skills, his vision and the ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Highlighted Team (Japan):
Japan national team have been making progress year by year. The Samurai Blue are regarded as one of the best Asian teams and they have established themselves as the regular participants of the FIFA World Cup finals. Japan qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France for the first time in the national team’s history, but they have been taking part at the showpiece tournament ever since. The Samurai Blue then co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea and they did well to make it to the last 16 of the major tournament. The Japanese national team repeated the success eight years later in South Africa, where they were beaten by Paraguay on penalties in the last 16. It has to be noted that Japan are the only Asian team that participated in the Copa America, with the team taking part in the 2009 and the 2011 tournament. The Samurai Blue wear blue shirts and blue shorts when playing at home, whereas their away kits are grey-white.