SARANSK, Russia: James Rodriguez was left out of Colombia’s starting line-up for their opening World Cup match against Japan on Tuesday as the Brazil 2014 top scorer labours with a calf strain.
The Bayern Munich star starts on the bench at the Mordovia Arena with Juan Quintero of River Plate filling Rodriguez’s attacking midfield role for the south Americans.
Monaco’s veteran striker Radamel Falcao captains the side with Sevilla forward Luis Muriel a surprise omission from the starting team.
There was a heavy German influence to Japan’s midfield with captain Makoto Hasebe, who plays for Eintracht Frankfurt, partnering Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa behind striker Yuya Osaka, who plays for Cologne.
The opening World Cup game is a big test for coach Akira Nishino, who only took charge 71 days ago.
Japan will try to claim revenge for their 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Colombia, who reached the quarter-finals, in their final group game at the 2014 World Cup finals.—AFP