first_imgVolcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda, right back Atsuto Uchida, defender Yuto Nagamoto and forward Shinji Okazaki are among the Japanese playing in their third World Cup. Borussia Dortmund forward Shinji Kagawa is in his second after making his tournament debut in Brazil.“Several of us will play in our third World Cup. Meanwhile, there are a host of young players who have made fast progress. These youngsters boast greater confidence,” Kawashima said. “So with a mix of experienced veterans and talented youth players, I am confident that we are capable of making history in Russia.”HOPE FOR JAMESFour years ago, Rodriguez rose to the global stage as the top scorer of the 2014 World Cup with six in five matches.Shortly after the tournament, he had such a disappointing three-year spell at Real Madrid that the Spanish team loaned him to rival Bayern Munich last year.The 26-year-old Rodriguez has performed better in Germany, but still far from his best days in 2014, when he scored a spectacular goal against Japan in the 4-1 victory.Rodriguez is recovering from a left calf injury and Colombia made a mystery of whether he will start the game in Saransk, but he has done some work at practice and is expected to play at some point.COACHING CHANGEAkira Nishino’s debut at the World Cup comes only a couple months after the 63-year-old coach who made his name steering Gamba Osaka was hired to replace Vahid Halilhodzic.Although Halilhodzic was the coach who qualified Japan for its sixth straight World Cup, Japanese federation officials were unsatisfied by his use — or lack thereof — of some of the country’s most established players. Colombia’s triumphs in the past World Cup included a 4-1 victory over Japan in the final game of group play. The rematch involves many of the same players, including, perhaps, attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, if his recently strained left calf doesn’t act up. But the Japanese are hoping that some different circumstances work in their favor.“Usually the first match is hard for every team and Colombia should be no exception,” Japan defender Maya Yoshida said. “I think it will be a tight game.”EXPERIENCE FACTORJapan first appeared in a World Cup in 1998 and has qualified for every one since, so they’re hoping their experience helps .“The current team has more experienced players than before,” said goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, who played for Japan in South Africa in 2010 and in Brazil four years ago.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES Russia’s World Cup headache: Keeping it safe, keeping it fun MOST READ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displacedcenter_img Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Yoshida said he can appreciate why the late-hour coaching change gives Japan the look of a team that is not expected to go far.“Although our expectations are not so high, the players’ aspirations remain unchanged,” Yoshida said. “Realistically, it would be a success for us to reach the round of 16. We will try our best to make a good World Cup for ourselves.”BOLD BLENDLess than half of the 23-man roster Colombia had in Brazil remains.Thirteen have never played a World Cup match, including Falcao. But eight of the likely starters played in the tournament four years ago.Colombia coach Jose Pekerman asserts that mix has his team poised to advance beyond the quarterfinals for the first time.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The current incarnation has a richer blend of talent and is widely expected to overmatch teams such as Japan, which recently changed coaches in hopes of addressing communication problems and bouts of inconsistency.“We cannot fall in the trap of feeling overconfident in this match,” Colombia midfielder Abel Aguilar said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“We are talented and we have a great team, but we must be clever at the World Cup,” Aguilar said in a FIFA interview. “We need to understand how to handle every game and have the desire to win.”The 32-year-old Falcao hasn’t scored much for Colombia — at least not yet. But he had 24 goals in 35 appearances for Monaco during the last club season. Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew FILE – In a Friday, June 1, 2018 file photo, Colombia’s Ramadel Falcao stands prior to the start of the riendly soccer match between Egypt and Colombia in Bergamo, Italy. With Radamel Falcao Garcia finally healthy enough to play in his first World Cup, Colombia is trying to get accustomed to handling higher expectations. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)SARANSK, Russia — With Radamel Falcao finally healthy enough to play in his first World Cup, Colombia is trying to get accustomed to handling higher expectations.Heading into its tournament opener against Japan on Tuesday, Colombia is no longer the upstart Cinderella story they became four years ago in Brazil, when they advanced to the quarterfinals despite Falcao’s absence.ADVERTISEMENT In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img