Yoshida relishing Colombia rematch

2018-06-08 | Since 3 Year

Japan defender Maya Yoshida has a score to settle with Colombia when the two sides re-unite in their Group H opener at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

The pair met in their group concluder at Brazil 2014 with Japan requiring a win against a Colombia side that had already sealed a place in the knockout stage. Yoshida and Co battled hard but their hopes were dashed with a crushing 4-1 defeat against an uncompromising opponent. Four years on, that disappointment remains an unhappy memory for Yoshida.

"We were in a very difficult position going into the closing group match against Colombia," the 29-year-old Southampton centre-back told FIFA.com ahead of the pair’s upcoming meeting at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. "Our opening loss to Ivory Coast cost us dearly, when we scored early but then we threw away our lead cheaply.

"So when the Colombia test came, we faced a must-win scenario. We had a hard time [against Colombia] and they taught us a lesson of how tough the World Cup could be."

With memories of that devastating defeat still fresh, Yoshida is relishing the opportunity to right the wrongs of four years ago.

"I am really excited to meet them again,” said Yoshida. "But things are much different compared to last time. Four years ago we met in the last group game but this time in Russia we play against each other in the opener.

"Usually the first match is hard for every team and Colombia should be no exception. I think it will be a tight game."


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