Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

James Rodriguez makes belated start for Colombia

James Rodriguez makes belated start for Colombia

Colombia's national soccer team on Tuesday fell to a 2-1 defeat against Japan in its first group stage game of the World Cup in Russian Federation after being reduced to 10-men within three minutes.

Yuya Osako headed in the victor after Juan Quintero's 39th minute free-kick had cancelled out Shinji Kagawa's third minute openee from the spot.

The drama in Saransk started with referee Damir Skomina reaching into his back pocket after just two minutes and 56 seconds, deeming that Kagawa's shot had struck Sanchez on his upper arm on its way through on goal.

Kawashima's error then gifted Colombia an equaliser, with Quintero's low free-kick creeping over the line at the near post after Falcao was brought down on the edge of the area.

Sanchez became the first player to be red-carded in this year's World Cup and will surely be suspended for his actions.

Japan have opened their 2018 World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win against 10-man Colombia at the Mordovia Arena this afternoon.

Colombia started the Group H fixture without the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot victor Rodriguez due to muscle fatigue, while Japan were without Leicester City striker Okazaki due to a calf problem. The Asian side limped into the World Cup, losing friendlies to Ukraine, Ghana and Switzerland before topping Paraguay in the final tune-up.

His sending-off in the third minute, for a deliberate handball, was the second fastest in World Cup history after Uruguay's Jose Batista was dismissed after 55 seconds against Scotland in 1986.

Although Colombia had looked much better in the second half after their earlier tactical substitution, they could only hold on for so long, as Yuya Osako powered home a header from a corner to put his side ahead with 20 minutes to play.

Germany coach Joachim Low makes weird excuses after shock defeat to Mexico
Undaunted by their opposition, Mexico adopted a thrilling, attack-minded approach, continually threatening the German defense. Joshua Kimmich and Hirving Lozano are probably the two most talented youngsters to watch out for at the 2018 FIFA World Cup .

In an explosive start to the Group H clash, Colombia defender Carlos Sanchez earned the first red card of Russian Federation 2018 with a handball after just four minutes.

There was some confusion about why the incident justified a red card.

It was also sweet revenge for Japan, who were thumped 4-1 by the same opponents in Brazil 2014, but they wasted plenty of chances to kill the game off earlier.

Colombia started without Rodriguez, the leading scorer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

An intelligent flick forward by Kagawa saw Osako force his way past Davinson Sanchez and race through on goal.

"We had practiced loads of set pieces and that goal was straight off the training ground", said Osako.

The Colombians were a goal down and a man down after just five minutes in their opener.

But Japan finally made their extra man count when Osako, who was a constant menace to the Colombia defence, leapt highest from a corner and guided his header in off the post with 17 minutes to go.

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