Samurai Yujiro, Japan Broadcasting.net World Cup correspondent
Today, Japan’s invincible “Samurai Blue” will play Colombia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. First stage, first match, Group H.
You can follow the game LIVE on the FIFA official website.
And I would humbly like to assert that you have every reason to believe in Japan’s victory today at the Moldavia Arena in Saransk.
Here are 8 solid reasons why.
- Kagawa Shinji is back. The Borussia Dortmund striker, who also played for Mr Fergusson’s Manchester United is now in perfect shape, having overcome a tendon injury he suffered in January. Japan’s No.10 proved it when Japan slashed Paraguay 4-2 at a friendly test match 6 days ago. And I believe that he is ready to make a huge difference today.
- James Rodriguez is no longer what he used to be. That’s why he was transferred form Real Madrid to Bayern Munich. As the Sports Illustrated reports, the Colombian star has failed to prove what he is worth after the stunning World Cup debut in Brazil 2014. Of course there’s no denying the fact that Colombia’s No.10 is still an unreal technician, having scored 6 times in 19 appearances at the Bundesliga – but still, he is too handsome a man to be a top scorer in Russia like he did four years ago.
- Colombia elected a new president just 3 days ago. Ivan Duque, a U.S educated conservative could not only destabilize his country but his soccer team. Ludicrous as it may sound, the Washington Times has reported “Peace may be the loser” – and the de-stability in Bogota’s internal affairs could subconsciously downplay its national squad. We’ve also got to bear in mind that a former Colombian star player Andres Escobar was assassinated by his own fellow citizens after his devastating own goal at the 1994 FIFA world cup. The tragedy underscores the fact the enormous pressure Colombian players face till this very day – which may lead to underperformance.
- The Samurai Blue has a brand new lethal weapon, Inui Takashi. Spain’s La liga footballer scored two goals against Paraguay a week ago, and is in a super fit shape. Many of you may have never even heard of him, but Eibar’s attacking midfielder who will play for Real Betis next season was often referred to by Japan’s sacked manger Vahid Halilhodzic as “Maradona of Japan”.
- Radamel Falcao is too good. “El Tigre” (Tiger in Spanish) as he is often referred to by the mighty Colombians is definitely a brilliant attacker who has overcome a tragic injury right before the FIFA World Cup 2014. The Monaco striker is an absolute monster, a pretty dangerous one. But the fact that he is “too great” may ironically isolate him in today’s match.
- Southampton’s defender Yoshida Maya is ready. The 189cm Samurai will surely play a pivotal role in blocking Rodriguez and Falcao, and he knows how to do it.
- Japan’s new coach Nishino Akira is a lucky bastard. Obscure as he may be, Nishino created history by managing Japan’s magical victory over Brazil in 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Boy, is he gonna do it again fellas.
- The Power of YaTa Garass. If you look closely at the official uniform of the Samurai Blue, you will see a black bird on the chest – which is an absolute, irreplaceable emblem for Japan soccer. 八咫烏, or YaTa Garass – as it is called is a legendary bird in Japanese mythology that is known for leading Japan’s first Emperor Jimmu (660B.C〜) to the right path to success back in the olden times. It is indeed an interesting bird with just 3 legs (please look carefully!) – so do not mistaken it for a mere crow. YaTa Garass is also enshrined as a Guardian Angel in 3 Shinto shrines; Kumanonachitaisha Shrine, Kumanohongutaisha Shrine as well as the Kumanohayatamataisha Shrine which is located in Kumano, also a profound UNESCO World Heritage sight. When Japan’s Women Soccer Team won the Women’s FIFA World cup 2011, it was of course the YaTa Garass that led the girls led by the living legend Sawa Homare to stunning the world. And now, it is the mythical bird that will create an unforgettable miracle once again. Get ready ladies and gentlemen!
Arigato Gozaimass for reading!
FIFA Fair Play. Good luck to both teams.