World Cup Report: Japan opens tournament with historic upset win

Jun 20 2018, 2:09 am

Japan made World Cup history on Tuesday, winning their opening match 2-1 against Colombia.

The win marked the first time that an Asian country has defeated a South American team at this tournament, in 18 tries.

Red card lifts Japan over Colombia

It took less than five minutes for Colombia to dig themselves into a deep hole.

A deliberate hand ball in the box by Carlos Sanchez Moreno not only gave Japan a penalty, which Shinji Kagawa would convert on, but it also earned a red card.

Despite being down to 10 men, Colombia levelled the match before the end of the half, scoring on an inventive free kick goal in the 39th minute. Juan Fernando Quintero actually shot the ball under the wall with an off-speed shot that fooled the Japanese goalkeeper.

The lead wouldn’t last though, as Yuya Osako’s header off a corner in the 73rd minute gave Japan the goal they needed for the win.

Naturally, fans back in Osaka celebrated by jumping into the canal.

Senegal records Africa’s first win at this year’s World Cup

Today’s other Group H match was also an upset, as Senegal surprised Poland 2-1.

The win was the first for an African country at this World Cup. African nations had a combined record of 3-9-3 during the group stage at the last World Cup in Brazil.

Senegal was the beneficiary of some good fortune, capitalizing on an own goal by Thiago Cionek in the 37th minute to take a 1-0 lead.

In the 60th minute, Poland goofed again, as a sloppy pass led to a gift for M’Baye Niang to give Senegal a two-goal cushion.

Poland got one back in the 86th minute from Grzegorz Krychowiak, but it was too little, too late.

After cleaning up on the pitch, Senegalese supporters cleaned up – literally – in the stands.

Russia all but secures a spot in the knockout stage

Barring something unforeseen, Russia will advance to the knockout stage for the first time in 32 years after another impressive win on home soil.

After winning the opener 5-0, the hosts beat Egypt 3-1, despite Mo Salah’s return to the lineup.

After a scoreless first half, an own goal by Ahmed Fathy gave Russia the lead in the 47th minute. That was followed up shortly after by goals by Denis Cheryshev (59th minute) and Artem Dzyuba (62nd minute) to put the match out of reach.

Salah scored on a penalty in the 73rd minute to give his country a glimmer of hope, but it wasn’t to be for the Egyptians.

Egypt needs Saudi Arabia to pull off an upset win over Uruguay on Wednesday to keep their hopes of advancing alive.

Wednesday’s matches

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are back in action on Wednesday against Morocco. Saudi Arabia needs a result against Uruguay to stay alive, while Iran can punch their ticket into the next round if they find a way to beat Spain.

  • Portugal vs Morocco (5 am PT / 8 am ET)
  • Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia (8 am PT / 11 am ET)
  • Iran vs Spain (11 am PT / 2 pm ET)
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