Yoshida and Bednarek begin World Cup bids

By SFC Media Tue 19 Jun International
Photo by Getty Images

Defensive duo Maya Yoshida and Jan Bednarek are both in action for their respective nations today, as Japan take on Colombia (1pm BST) and Poland face off against Senegal (4pm BST) in a full complement of Group H fixtures.

Rio's surprise package four years ago, Colombia, are unbeaten against today's opponents Japan (W2 D1), with their only other previous World Cup encounter a 4-1 win for Colombia in June 2014.

A confident Colombian side, including 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez and top scorer Radamel Falcao, will be a powerful test for Yoshida's Japan, who are among a strong quartet of nations in Group H.

Japan are in fact winless against any South American side at the World Cup (D1 L3), but comfortably beat Paraguay 4-2 in their final warm-up friendly earlier this month.

Colombia conquered fans in Brazil with their entertaining counter-attacking style, but have been less than convincing in qualifying, and have doubts over the fitness of star man Rodriguez.

Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for Bednarek's Poland after netting 16 times in qualifying - more than half of their goals on the road to Russia.

Poland face Senegal in Group H's corresponding fixture, and with both sides possessing star quality in attack, onlookers may expect a surplus of goals in the late afternoon kick-off.

Sadio Mané and Diafra Sakho are expected to spearhead Senegal's attack, and will be a handful for young centre-half Bednarek, who is making his major tournament debut after stepping up from Poland's Under-21s side.

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