Japan manager Akira Nishino has admitted that he refuses to pop the champagne just yet following his side’s impressive 2-1 win over Colombia – their first World Cup win in Europe after six attempts. The Blue Samurai had to work hard to come out victorious against their ten man opponents, but they thoroughly deserved their victory.
Having scored a sixth minute penalty and playing almost the entire match against ten men, Nishino would’ve been frustrated to go into half time with the score locked at 1-1. A brilliant Juan Quintero free kick from close range equalised the score just before the break, and at this point in the game Colombia looked threatening.
However, through the guidance of their manager, Japan came out on top – and it was all as a result of wearing their opponents down.
“I said at half time that if we can keep the ball moving, we can deprive the Colombia players of their stamina,” he told reporters after the match (via Sports Mole)
While Colombia continued to threaten throughout the first half despite having one less player on the pitch, Nishino has praised his players for their performance, but refuses to get carried away just yet.
“Our players were aggressive from the start and I think that worked very well for us. This is just one win and three points, so we will save our celebration.”
Japan now await Senegal in their next group encounter, hoping to earn at least another point before facing Poland – who will now be expected to top the group.
Coming into the tournament with very few expectations, the Blue Samurai’s first game will be a massive boost for the Japanese, and there’s hope of qualifying for the Round of 16 as a result.