Yoshida's Japan come out on top

By SFC Media Tue 19 Jun International
Photo by Getty Images

Maya Yoshida and Japan opened their World Cup account with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over 10-man Colombia in today's first instalment of World Cup action.

Group H's opening clash was full of drama from the third minute onwards, when Carlos Sanchez was dismissed for a deliberate handball, and Shinji Kagawa converted the resulting penalty kick to put Japan ahead.

Colombia drew level in the 39th minute through Juan Quintero, but it wasn't enough, as Samurai Blue ended their baron run against South American opposition at World Cup finals.

Yuya Osaka netted the game's winning goal, in the 73rd minute - a well placed header that flashed past the wayward arms of David Ospina and into the net.

Saints' Maya Yoshida played the full 90 minutes, and dealt well with the threats of Radamel Falcao and latterly James Rodríguez, who was introduced in the 59th minute from the bench.

In what will inevitably be a tightly contested group, these three points will give underdogs Japan a fighting chance of progression, as they now prepare to face Senegal on Sunday 24th (4pm BST).

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