Arguably the least exciting group of the World Cup 2018, Group H kicks off with Colombia taking on Japan in Saransk. Colombia’s James Rodríguez was the breakout star of the 2014 competition in Brazil, netting six times on his way to the golden boot. His defence of that honour will surely be a key talking point.
Unlike four years ago when he was side-lined through injury, failed Manchester United loanee, Radamel Falcao will spearhead Los Cafeteros’s attack. Though his best days may be behind him if Colombia are to offer a serious challenge they’ll need his goals. Winger Juan Cuadrado, previously of Chelsea now at Italian giants Juventus, will be another talisman to watch.
Japan on the other hand are a team lacking any major stars, but with a reasonably solid core that will see them aiming to sneak a place in the round of 16, a feat they achieved previously in 2002 and 2010.
The sacking of their manager, Vahid Halilhodzic, a mere two months before the tournament start has created a sense of unpredictability to the side. New boss Akira Nishino has yet to show his tactical hand, which could help or hinder them.
When is the Colombia v Japan World Cup 2018 Group H game being played?
Which players are in the Colombia and Japan World Cup squads?
Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas).
Defenders: Cristian Zapata (Milan), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Johan Mojica (Girona), Yerry Mina (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Wílmar Barrios (Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (Espanyol), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Abel Aguilar (Deportivo Cali), Mateus Uribe (America), Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus).
Strikers: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Miguel Borja (Palmeiras), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Luis Fernando Muriel (Sevilla).