In the first match of the day, Japan stunned Colombia to earn Asia’s first-ever World Cup win over South American opposition, after 15 defeats and three draws.
The match at the Mordovia Arena probably could not have started better for Nishino Akira’s men, as they were handed an early one-man advantage when Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a handball in the penalty area after only three minutes.
Shinji Kagawa scored from the resulting penalty kick, and Japan held on to their lead until just before the half time, when Juan Quintero equalized with a clever free kick from just outside the box.
However, Japan dominated the second half, creating a series of chances before Yuya Osako headed in the winner from a set-piece.
Also in Group H, Senegal defeated Poland 2-1 at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow to record the first win for an African team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Idrissa Gueye’s low drive was deflected into his own net by Thiago Cionek in the 37th minute, and Senegal doubled the lead at the one hour-mark when Mbaye Niang took advantage of Poland’s defensive blunder.
Grzegorz Krychowiak scored the consolation goal for Poland with four minutes left on the clock.
Russia and Egypt opened the second round of matches on Tuesday evening, with Stanislav Cherchesov’s side winning 3-1 after a commanding second-half display.
Ahmed Fathi’s own goal and goals from Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba put Russia on the brink of the second round; Mohamed Salah struck from the penalty spot, but Egypt now has to hope that Saudi Arabia will surprise Uruguay on Wednesday to keep their slender chance of progression alive.