Group H always looked like the most unpredictable at this World Cup, and so it felt appropriate that its opening match saw underdogs Japan beat favorites Colombia, thanks to goals either side of halftime from Shinji Kagawa and Yuya Osako.
Yuya Osako won a bouncing ball to begin a sequence that led to the red card and the penalty.
The Group H favourites suffered a nightmarish start to their campaign when Sanchez blocked Shinji Kagawa's shot with his arm after just two minutes and 56 seconds, prompting the referee to brandish the first straight red card for handball at a World Cup since Luis Suarez was sent off against Ghana in 2010.
A goal and a man down, Colombia faced an almighty task to fight their way back into the contest.
Yuya Osako's 73rd-minute victor was a huge relief for the Japanese, who were thumped 4-1 by Colombia four years ago during a miserable campaign in which they failed to register a single win.
Japan became the latest side to pull off an upset at the World Cup, joining Mexico, Switzerland and Iceland in earning surprising results.
Jonathan Evans adapted this story based on the Associated Press news report.
Harry and Meghan's first overseas tour revealed
It's been speculated Harry and Meghan may have been on honeymoon but that has not been confirmed by the palace. During the ceremony, The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops.
Trump's legal team emboldened by inspector general report
Trump quickly retweeted at least a half dozen posts about the report from the "Fox & Friends" morning show on Fox News Channel. Then he turned to other reporters and went over the same list for another 20 minutes.
Phil Mickelson freestyles hole 13 of US Open Championship
It's a no-no for kids on a insane golf course, let alone a five-time major champion and former world No. 2 at the US Open . And if that's the way people took it, I apologize to them, but that's not the way it was taken.
After a frantic first half, the game slowed in the second but Osako burst into the Colombia box and drew a save from David Ospina with a tricky close-range shot that the Arsenal goalkeeper parried away.
Despite finally retaking the lead, the final minutes were not without incident, a last-ditch sliding block in the box by Osako on Rodriguez allowing Japan to hold their lead and move on to their second Group H match against Senegal on Sunday with three points in the bag.
"To score a goal at the World Cup has been a dream for me since I was little, so I was extremely happy", said the match-winner.
Japan were back to their technical best in the second half, maintaining possession before they were rewarded with a second goal from a Keisuke Honda corner.
"Our players were aggressive from the start and I think that worked very well for us".
Although Sanchez recovered from that early mistake and improved as the game went on, there was a bit of shakiness about him throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Colombia were awarded the questionable free kick when Makoto Hasebe and Falcao clashed trying to get their heads to a 50-50 ball.
Colombia came out on top 4-1 when these sides last met in a World Cup group match four years ago, but there only looked like being one victor on the basis of the second half. The 32-year-old sent his corner from the left side curling and dipping past the Colombia defenders into the path of the flying Osako.
- Southgate wants England players to entertain nation's fans
- Kan. deputy killed, another critical after shooting during inmate transport
- Explosion at Hawaii volcano spews ash as lava flows into sea
- Russia's Putin would be ready to host G7 in Moscow
- England v Costa Rica
- E3 2018: Halo Infinite revealed, but what is it?
- How to get help for someone who might be suicidal
- NK leader arrives in Singapore for historic summit with Trump
- Would Paul George Want To Team With LeBron James?
- Anthony Bourdain's death means loss of a voice for immigrant workers - International