Colombia vs. Japan, 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, Fox Sports 1
- Colombia -133
- Japan +496
- Draw +257
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News came out on Thursday morning that Colombian star James Rodriguez (known as James) was held out of training. The announcement came as a surprise as there was no indication that James was struggling before the team made the announcement. After looking further into the situation, it seems that he missed the training session due to “muscle fatigue” but still worked through a session at the team’s training facility. I would not expect this injury to be much of an issue and expect James to play with no limitations against Japan.
With James expected to be healthy, this will be one of the first times that Colombia will be in full force for a major tournament match. After missing the 2014 World Cup, Radamel Falcao should be fired up and will look to make his first — and most likely last — World Cup a memorable one.
Japan struggled during qualifying, winning their group by one point ahead of Saudi Arabia. We’ve already seen the major gap in skill between the Asian teams and the rest of the world, so that’s not a ringing endorsement for Blue Samurai.
Japan, however, does have far more talent than Saudi Arabia and the other Asian teams. Most of their players are plying their trade in major leagues around the world, and their talisman, Shinji Kagawa, can make an impact against any opponent.
I expect this game to be fun and open thanks to the free-flowing style that Colombia plays. Los Cafeteros are not just out there to win games, they want to entertain. Colombia’s style and skill should overwhelm Japan, who do not have anyone in the midfield that can contain James in the middle of the park. Maya Yoshida could make life difficult for Colombia’s attackers at times, but overall Japan will struggle to deal with the speed of Juan Cuadrado on the wing and Falcao through the middle. I like Colombia to win this game in style.