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An opening win that few saw coming has given Japan the perfect start to its World Cup campaign, but there will be further hurdles to clear if the team is to book its place in the knockout round.

Japan beat Colombia 2-1 in Saransk on Tuesday in a game of high drama, indelibly shaped by a third-minute handball that saw Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez sent off and Shinji Kagawa give Japan the lead from the penalty spot. Colombia clawed its way back to equalize through Juan Quintero’s 39th-minute free kick, but Japan regrouped at halftime and a Yuya Osako header in the 73rd minute gave the Samurai Blue a historic victory.

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