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Samurai Blue's World Cup win over Colombia a TV ratings hit

Teammates crowd over Japan's Shinji Kagawa after he scored from the penalty spot his side's first goal against Colombia during a group H match at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Mordavia Arena in Saransk, Russia, on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO -- Not only did Japan's Samurai Blue players deliver a thrilling victory against Colombia in their first match of the 2018 soccer World Cup, they also delivered a TV ratings bonanza to public broadcaster NHK.

Some 42.8 percent of viewers in the Kanto region were glued to the first half of the game, broadcast live from Saransk, Russia, by NHK starting at 8:45 p.m. Japan time, a Video Research Ltd. survey suggests. That jumped to 48.7 percent in the second half, during which Japan's Yuya Osako scored late to put Japan up for good 2-1. The audience share spiked to a high of 55.4 percent at 10:52-10:53 p.m., when Japan clinched victory.

The numbers in western Japan's Kansai region were good but not as gaudy as those in and around Tokyo, with 37.6 percent of viewers taking in the game's first half, and 44.1 percent in the second half, the Video Research survey indicated.

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