Colombia face Japan, Poland to meet Senegal — FIFA WC

Jose Pekerman

If James is sidelined, Colombia, who are hoping to at least return to the quarterfinals after making it there for the first time in 2014, know that success in Russian Federation about more than just the presence of one player. The Bayern Munich attacking midfielder is key to Colombia's chances of repeating their run to the quarter finals four years ago.

Defender Yuto Nagatomo told the newspaper: "Whether (Rodriguez) plays or not, no matter who lines up for our opponents, the way we approach the game doesn't change".

The FIFA World Cup 2018 Colombia vs Japan match will take place on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The rematch involves numerous same players, including, perhaps, attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, if his recently strained left calf doesn't act up. But the Japanese are hoping that some different circumstances work in their favour.

Japan are paying $6 for the win in group H while Colombia are around $1.75, with the draw coming in at $3.5.

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Japan's hopes of winning their opening World Cup fixture today have been written off before a ball has been kicked - by a chirpy parrot believed to possess psychic powers. Borussia Dortmund forward Shinji Kagawa is in his second after making his tournament debut in Brazil.

"We think Japan will be a very tough team, we have completely forgotten what happened in the last World Cup", insisted Pekerman, who rarely speaks to the press. Meanwhile, there are a host of young players who have made fast progress.

"Obviously they have a lot of talent", Kawashima said.

"Concentration is fundamental if we are to stay on track and maintain confidence in our plan for the tournament".

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The Japan team is also well aware of the threat posed by 2014 Golden Boot victor and Colombian playmaker James Rodrigues, who is struggling to be fit for this year's action. Japan has not won against Colombia in their previous three encounters and that included 1-4 drubbing in the group stage of the last World Cup.

That's because Salah is expected to be involved having missed the game against Uruguay. But, this time Senegal will play without their star-player Saliou Ciss, who is ruled out the World Cup due to an ankle injury.

"Although our expectations are not so high, the players' aspirations remain unchanged", Yoshida said. "This time, we have to show ourselves that we can do something better".

Thirteen have never played a World Cup match, including Falcao.

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