Talking Points: Will this be remembered as the World Cup of set-pieces
Written by: Shivam Tiwari
It was a dramatic game in Saransk which also saw the tournament's first red card.
In the first game of Group H at the FIFA World Cup 2018, Asian heavyweights Japan brought more fancied Colombia down to their knees beating them 1-2. Shinji Kagawa and Yuya Osaka scored for the Blue Samurais, while Juan Quintero scored the only goal for Columbia. Carlos Sanchez was given a straight red for handling the ball inside the box in the third minute of the game.
Khel Now takes a look at the five talking points of the game.
Watch: Colombia 1-2 Japan highlights
5. Yuya Osako - the difference between the two sides.
There would have been a player whose contribution could have well gone unnoticed, had he not scored the winner. Yuya Osako didn't just score the winner, the FC Koln striker also made the most crucial block of the game to deny James Rodriguez, what could have been the equalizer.
The man who plies his trade in Germany won eight duels and scored the goal that gave Japan a win against a more fancied opponents.
4. Is this the World Cup of set-pieces?
Another day, another game, another penalty awarded. Nine penalties (after this game) have been awarded, four of them with the help of VAR. If this has been already in the discourse among fans, there is something more intriguing to know.
Four free-kicks have been scored until now in the FIFA World Cup 2018. This is already one more than the total free-kicks scored in the previous edition held in Brazil.
3. Jose Pekerman got it right by subbing off Juan Cuadrado
Substituting an experienced player like Juan Cuadrado when he was fully fit may have raised few eyebrows, but the move worked well for the Columbians, at least in the first half. After the red card handed out to Sanchez, Quintero was forced to play a deeper role to make up for the loss of a man in midfield, thereby hindering his effectiveness in the attacking third.
Hence, Pekerman brought off Cuadrado to bring in Wilmar Barrios, a defensive midfielder. This released Quintero of his defensive duties, allowing him to have much more impact and even go on to score a goal for Los Cafeteros.
2. Quintero was unparalleled in the first half
James Rodriguez struggled with his calf and had complaints of fatigue. So, Juan Quintero started ahead of the Bayern Munich star. Quintero made a midfield that just lost a man look formidable, both while attacking and while defending. The River Plate attacking midfielder scored the equalizer for the team from South America.
He made nine key passes, four more than the next best of the game until he was on.
1. A game of two halves
Columbia were a man down right from the third minute of the game. But, soon after going behind, Los Cafeteros came back into the game by reorganising their midfield. The Columbians dominated the proceedings of the first 45 minutes, making life difficult for the Japanese.
The Columbian midfield eventually ran out of gas and Japan didn't let this opportunity go by. The team touted as the weakest of the group upped their game and made it a one-sided affair in the second half.
Published: Tue Jun 19, 2018 09:52 PM IST