By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 19th June 2018
The final four teams of the World Cup will be showcased today with Group H set to be the group England meet in the first round of the knock-out stages.
Bayern Munich playmaker James Rodriguez is hoping to pass a late fitness test to play. The Colombian won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup where he was involved in eight of his team’s 12 goals at the World Cup – scoring six and assisting two. James Rodriguez to score and Colombia to win was 9/4 but is now 5/2.
Despite scoring and assisting five of Japan’s six goals at the last two World Cups, Keisuke Honda could be left out by Japan coach Akira Nishino out after going 21 months without an international goal. Leicester forward Shinju Okazaki is also a doubt after nursing a calf problem in recent days.
Colombia manager Jose Pekerman has only lost one of his last 10 games at the World Cup (excluding shoot-outs) – Colombia’s 2-1 defeat to Brazil in 2014. Japan, meanwhile, have won only two of their last 11 World Cup games and are winless against South American sides at the World Cup. Radamel Falcao to score two or more goals was 13/2 but now stands at 8/1.
Colombia forward Luis Muriel said: “I think Japan’s main strength, like any Asian team, is the speed of their transition, they can go quickly from defence to attack and attack to defence.
“So we need to try to block that with fast plays when we can counter-attack and find space. And in defence we should try to adjust quickly if we lose the ball or if they’re attacking.”
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about many different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Sport Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.