Colombia and Japan will play the first game in Group H at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on Monday, with this group looking like the most open on paper. All of the sides involved (Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal) will feel like they can qualify from this group and that should make for some exciting matches. Colombia announced themselves onto the world stage four years ago by reaching the quarter finals in Brazil with James Rodriguez also taking home the Golden Boot award. Jose Pekerman will be hoping that he can take his side even further this time around and they certainly have the quality to cause plenty of sides problems.
Colombia came through the tough South American qualifying stage without beating any of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and this side can come unstuck against higher quality opposition. This Colombian side has plenty of quality in it though, with Rodriguez playing alongside Radamel Falcao and the whole thing built on a solid defensive unit containing Davinson Sanchez and Christian Zapata. Colombia beat France in a friendly recently and that should help give them to confidence to go toe to toe with the biggest sides and Pekerman will be hoping that his side can be the competitions dark horse in Russia.
This Japan side have been in a stage of transition recently and sacked their manager just two months before the World Cup after a very poor run of form. Akira Nashino has come in, but any hope of a new manager bounce was extinguished after defeats to Ghana and Switzerland and you do feel as though Japan will struggle in this tournament. There is quality in this side in the form of Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, but this ageing squad probably don’t have enough about them to get out of a tough group.
These sides met four years ago in Brazil, with Colombia winning 4-1 on that day and I’m backing them to do the same this time around. Colombia have bags of quality in attack with James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao and I think they could win this game by a couple of clear goals if they can get things going early on. I’m backing Colombia to top this group and I think they could surprise plenty of people.
Betting Tips (Coral)
Colombia start this game as favourites at odds of 4/6, whilst a victory for Japan is priced up at 5/1, with the draw available at 12/5. I’m backing Colombia to win this game comfortably, but they could well concede, so the 18/5 on Colombia to win and both teams to score looks like an interesting bet. James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot at the last World Cup and if you fancy him to open his account in this game, he is 2/1 to score at anytime. I prefer a bet on Radamel Falcao though and the Monaco frontman is 7/2 to score first, or 13/10 to score at anytime.
Radamel Falcao to Score at Anytime – 13/10 (Coral) – Find here a Coral sports review.