Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Qué Kagawa!

Colombia expected to defeat Japan as they did in 2014. Back then it was a stronger Japan side, and a Colombia side that was yet to take on the world stage. Today world renown Colombia faced a crisis-ridden Japanese side.
The first minute was probably crucial for how the match went: Carlos Sanchez was correctly awarded the first red card of the tournament when he made a hand save inside the area that must have been the envy of David Ospina. The great Shinji Kagawa did not miss the penalty (as others have done). Ten men down Japan were surely the most intelligent and fighting side against a Colombian side that clearly do not handle pressure well. Despite them equalizing thanks to a Juan Fernando Quintero free kick (with the help of hapless Eiji Kawashima on goal), Japan were the better team. Not even the great James Rodriguez coming on helped a side that stopped believing in the own skills as soon as Japan scored.
And all respect to an organized Japanese team: they did not seem in crisis, but were instead swimming in confidence. A splendid Yuya Osako scored the winner, and now Japan are suddenly looking like contenders for the next round.

Poland lost to 1-2 to a fantastic Senegal (giving Africa its first victory of the tournament). For many  people Poland and Colombia were the favourites of this group (in my personal opinion Poland has always been the most overrated side of this tournament; they play horrible football, relying on only Lewandowski's brilliance, and their fans are the most pathetic in the world). Now Poland and Colombia will be facing each other in the tournament's first "final".
Colombia are in my view a far better team, but if they play with as little heart and confidence when things go against them as they did against Japan, they will lose and break the hearts of millions of Colombian fans (including myself!!!).

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