Japan match preview

Japan face Colombia today in their first game of the World Cup. This will kick off their campaign in a wide open group.

Looking at Group H it is hard to call the top two unlike some of the other groups. Group H as Japan and Colombia along with Poland and Senegal. 

With the group being so open, it will be important to avoid defeat in the opening match. However, unlike South Korea yesterday this is not a must win game and a draw for Japan will be a great result. This will then give them a big springboard going into the remaining matches against Senegal and then Poland.

Go for the draw then Japan?

While I am saying Japan could afford the draw I am not saying they should be negative and play for the that. As the last time, Japan played Colombia was four years ago in Brazil where the Japanese lost 4-1. 

Due to this and the fact, all sides should be positive I think they will look to put that result right and go for a win. If they do win then this will be the first victory for them at a World Cup since they beat Denmark 3-1 in South Africa in 2010. 

Is Shinji Okazaki fit enough to play?

Last week Shinji Okazaki suffered a calf injury that could rule him out of the World Cup. Although he is now saying he will be fit to play all three group games.

What is clear is even if he is declared fit to play he has missed a large chunk of football this season. 

However, yesterday the Japan forward seemed confident as he said: "I trained today and there was not much pain". We shall then see tomorrow if he is picked. 

If Japan is to win over Colombia where will they win this match?

The win will of cause come from attacking Colombia, this will be no mean task however as the side has kept three clean sheets in their last five. Although Colombia has never been involved in a game at the World Cup that's finished goalless and they've played 18 World Cup matches.

I would then not bet on a goalless draw if I was a betting man that is of course. 

If Japan is to score then one man who could be key is Yuya Osako of Koln in Germany. While the player is not prolific he can hold the ball up well and bring others in to play helping to create space. Honda and Kagawa can also be key as they have to ability to produce a bit of magic to change a game. 

On a final note away from football

The Japanese team yesterday where hit with the news that an earthquake hit the city of Osaka killing at least three people and injuring at least 300. 

This was worrying news for the squad who were, of course, worried about friends and family back home and yesterday sent their condolences to everyone affected. As the Japan captain, Makoto Hasebe said in his press conference “I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the people who have been affected and hope that the damage will be limited and the recovery is as quick as possible". 

Here at From the Tofu Bowl we of cause echo those sentiments and hope that Japan can bring a smile back to the face of the people in Osaka with a win over Colombia. 

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