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).

Related

£5 gift cards thanks to Virgin Media
International schedule comes to a close for 2019
International

International schedule comes to a close for 2019

Saints contingent in final international action of the year.

Tue 19 Nov
Højbjerg to determine Euro 2020 fate Bednarek victorious with Poland
UEFA Women's EURO 2021 heads to Southampton
Club

UEFA Women's EURO 2021 heads to Southampton

St Mary's set to host three group stage fixtures, including England's Lionesses.

4 hours ago
Highlights: Saints 2-0 Villa Video: Smallbone's debut delight