FIFA World Cup: 3 things Colombia did wrong in 2-1 loss to Japan
Japan turned the tables on Colombia to cause the second major upset of the World Cup with a 2-1 win. This is also their first victory over a South American side.
The writing was on the wall when Los Cafeteros were down to 10 men inside 4 minutes when Carlos Sanchez was shown a straight red for handling the ball inside the area. Shinji Kagawa struck the resulting penalty, but Colombia appeared to turn the screw with high press and also clawed their way back into the match through Juan Quintero's cheeky freekick.
Strangely, Jose Pekerman's side plummeted dramatically in the second-half, allowing the Blue Samurai back into the match and also get the winner. Colombia were never going to come back from that, given the listless display for most of the time after the break.
A stunning loss, but Colombia have themselves to blame for it. Here's where they went wrong:
#1 Carlos Sanchez's desperate handball dug Colombia a hole
Japan's blistering start to the game pushed Colombia on the backfoot, and one nervy moment saw defender Carlos Sanchez thwarting the flight of the ball by stretching his arm out, leaving the match official with no choice but to send him for an early bath.
That one moment of madness was always going to come back to bite Colombia. Even though they did riposte by upping the attacking ante and restoring party through Quintero's low drive after Falcao drew a foul right outside the area, the numerical disadvantage clearly showed in the second 45 when the Cafeteros were on the backfoot and couldn't muster anything of note in the final third.
Had Sanchez not intervened, the ball would've probably ended in the back of the net anyway. But Colombia could've at least been in a position to stage a comeback. He not only put his side in the lurch for this game but also left them to rework strategies for the forthcoming group games too.