World Cup pre-game: Japan vs. Colombia
Colombia has secured its next-round ticket
Group C: Japan vs. Colombia
4 p.m. ET, Tuesday, June 24
What’s at stake
Colombia is through, and Japan still has a chance. The Group C runner-up will play the winner of Group D.
These teams have played each other twice previously. Colombia won the first, and drew in its most recent match.
Japan. Keisuke Honda. This talented playmaker has Japan’s only goal so far in Brazil.
Colombia. James Rodriguez. He has two goals in two games, and the world is talking about this young player.
What to watch for
Japan dominated possession against Greece — the Blue Samurai team had 68 per cent — but couldn’t get a goal. Honda needs to stimulate more effective play among his teammates.
Colombia dominated Greece in almost every aspect in its opening match, and beat a strong Ivory Coast squad. Los Cafeteros will try to lock up the midfield against Japan.
They said it
"The reason isn't physical. It's to help the team find the right balance in their approach to the next match." — Japan’s manager Alberto Zaccheroni speaking to media on why he gave his team an unexpected day off.
"You have to think game by game. Japan is a strong team and has good players. It is a tough game for us." — Colombian defender Cristin Zapata speaking to media in advance of the squad's third match.
The big number
4 — Colombia’s young midfielder James Rodriquez has scored in each of his last four international matches.
Obligatory fun fact
Japan has never defeated a South American team at the World Cup.