Japan on the brink


The Samurai Blue face Group C leaders Colombia in their final fixture needing a victory to progress, while hoping group rivals Ivory Coast slip up against Greece.

Japan’s start to the tournament has been less than satisfactory for their coach, having suffered an opening 2-1 loss to the Elephants while only winning a point off ten-man Greece in their last fixture.

And Zaccheroni knows the Asian champions have not delivered on the big stage.

"We haven't had enough speed in our play and it's as though the players have been playing with the brakes on," the Italian tactician told reporters.

"The problem is probably mental. We're not satisfied with our performances so far.”

Although the Asians face an early exit from the competition, Zaccheroni acknowledged their good work in recent years and hopes they can put in a competitive display in their final group match-up.

"This team has given lots of joy and satisfaction in previous matches over the past four years, so I'm hoping we can show that good part of our football against Colombia," he said.

Their South American opposition have been impressive in the tournament, winning their opening two fixtures and scoring five goals in the process, which has turned more than a few heads in Brazil.

And star midfielder James Rodriguez has backed his team, who have already qualified for the Last 16, to pull off a surprise in the latter stages of the tournament.

"Why can't we be the revelation of the tournament? I hope we will be," said Colombia’s number 10.

Kick-off between japan and Colombia is at 10pm on Tuesday night.