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Colombia 1-2 Japan: Yuya Osako header seals emotional opening win

Colombia 1-2 Japan: Yuya Osako header seals emotional opening win

Colombia 1-2 Japan: Yuya Osako header seals emotional opening win

Meanwhile, Carlos Sanchez received the second-quickest red card in World Cup history when he was dismissed in Colombia's World Cup Group H opener against Japan.

Colombia equalized late in the first half on Juan Quintero's rolling but accurate free kick, which sneaked inside the right post.

Both Senegal and Poland - who meet later today - will fancy their chances of qualifying from this group which, with four teams committed to attack, looks like being a thriller.

Kagawa went close in the 16th minute but his shot rolled past the post and Osako fired against the face of goal from a unsafe position in the box.

Osako made a significant contribution at the other end minutes later, sliding in at the last minute to block a shot from James Rodriguez, who had been played free in the box by a wonderful back heel by Wilmar Barrios. After a huge blunder from Colombian defender Carlos Sanchez, who became the first player to be handed a red card in Russian Federation, veteran Shinji Kagawa stepped up to deliver for the Asians as they took a lead.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said Tuesday's shock 2-1 loss to Japan will be a "bitter memory", but he vowed the stamina and nerve showed by the South Americans despite being a man down will propel them to victories in Group H.

But it was all in vain when Japan's Yuya Osako leapt above his marker to head a corner into the net for the 73rd-minute victor. Kagawa eventually dispatched the penalty.

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Sanchez's sending off is also the second-fastest in World Cup history, after Uruguay's Jose Batista, who was sent off within a minute of his side's clash with Scotland in 1986. Kagawa then converted from the spot. This scoreline was particularly unexpected in light of the fact that Japan had changed coaches shortly before the tournament, and because no Asian team had ever previously defeated a South American side in 17 World Cup meetings. He almost single-handedly guided Colombia into the championship by scoring six goals in only five games.

Japan are in total disarray as they prepare for their first match.

That gave Colombia extra control and their all-time leading scorer and captain Radamel Falcao came more into the game.

Okazaki did get in the game, but not until the 85th minute.

It is the sixth time Colombia have reached the World Cup having recorded their best finish in 2014 when they reached the quarter-finals.

When fans let out the customary cheer to mark the beginning of the match, the teams were still standing still.

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