FIFA World Cup: Japan vs. Colombia – 10 Bold Predictions

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Jun 21, 2014; Manaus, BRAZIL; Detailed view of the FIFA World Cup logo at the Portugal press conference prior to team training at Arena Amazonia. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan needed a victory over Greece to stay alive in the hunt for a spot in the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. With a scoreless draw, they must score a two-goal victory or better against Jose Pekerman’s Colombia, who only need a draw to top the group and are essentially playing for seeding.

A Japan victory will not be enough, however. The Samurai Blue will need some help from Greece to pass Côte d’Ivoire in the Group C table. Kickoff at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the match between Japan and Colombia.

1. Eiji Kawashima with at least four saves

This could be Eiji Kawashima’s last stand. Against a Colombia side that will be gunning for top spot in the Group C standings, Kawashima will make at least four saves to keep hope alive for Japan.

2. Yoshito Okubo will score for Japan

There have been a number of close calls for Yoshito Okubo in this tournament. However, against Colombia, Okubo will finally hammer one home past Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

3. David Ospina with at least four saves

Speaking of Ospina, the Nice netminder will put on another goalkeeping clinic for the fans and come up with at least four saves against the Samurai Blue.

4. Pablo Armero will score for Colombia

Udinese defender Pablo Armero has 54 caps for Los Cafeteros and will be one of a number of goalscorers for Colombia in this game. Armero will get on goal in the first half.

5. Teofilo Gutierrez will score for Colombia

River Plate striker Teofilo Gutierrez had 13 goals in 32 appearances for Colombia. A clinical finisher, Gutierrez will pile in on in the second half.

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  • 6. Also on goal…James Rodriguez

    Monaco midfielder James Rodriguez scored late in Colombia’s 3-0 shutout win over the Greeks and will also score late against Japan in what should be a goal festival. Rodriguez also scored in the 64th minute against the Ivory Coast in their 2-1 win.

    7. Shinji Kagawa will score for Japan

    The MLS Multiplex is holding on to faith one final time for Shinji Kagawa, who has had a disastrous FIFA World Cup in terms of finishing. The Manchester United forward will finally get on the board, albeit in a losing battle.

    8. Juan Fernando Quintero on goal

    Just to add insult to injury, young Porto midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero will also get in on goal late in the second half. This will be just Quintero’s sixth cap for Los Cafeteros so get used to hearing his name in the future.

    9. Under 50 fouls and five cards

    Fast and fluid football will be on the cards in this afternoon’s match at the Arena Pantanal. The MLS Multiplex is boldly predicting under 50 fouls and five cards in this contest.

    10. Colombia routs Japan in style

    This will be a match full of goals, but Colombia will roll on to the Round of 16 in dominating fashion. This is likely to also be the end for Alberto Zaccheroni, who did well to win the Asian Cup a few years ago, but to be unable to make it past the Round of 16 means that there will be change in the air over in Tokyo.

    Colombia 5, Japan 2