Soccer News of Tue, 24 Jun 20140
Heat will favour Colombia - Martinez
The striker feels the sweltering conditions will be of benefit to his nation against a side who have disappointed so far in the competition
Colombia’s Jackson Martinez believes the scorching conditions in Cuiaba will favour his nation against Japan on Tuesday.
Japan, who started their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast before playing out a goalless draw with Greece in their second game, could still qualify for the last-16 stage with a win over Colombia.
The South American outfit, who have already secured a place in the second round, top the group having won both their opening games, and Martinez hopes the climate will send them on their way to a third win.
"I think the weather will play a key role," Martinez said. “But what causes upsets in football is how well you play. So whether it is hot or cold it is important that we concentrate on our game plan applied by the coach.
"Japan is a strong team physically. They are players that have been characterised by giving everything until the end, so we must focus on continuing the good work that we have done."
Defender Cristian Zapata highlighted Japan's speed in offensive areas as a threat Colombia will have to guard against, but also maintained the need to focus on their own game.
"We must think only of the next game," the defender told reporters. "We cannot worry about other opponents even when we face Japan's strong national team, which has great players.
"We cannot delude ourselves. Their team has a lot more quality than their results have shown. They have a lot of speed and tactical discipline. It will be a great game.
"[But] we have a course of action for each opponent we face. We have not had a final conversation with our coaching staff [yet], but certainly they have prepared something.
"We need to continue with the same humility to continue advancing."