Juan Quintero's clever low free kick in the 39th minute gave Colombia the equaliser but Yuya Osako leapt above his marker to head a corner into the net for Japan's 73rd-minute victor.
Fans at the 2014 tournament in Brazil were also praised for similar civic-mindedness, even as their team failed to win a game and crashed out in the group stages.
Jason Pine provides all you need to know about this morning's World Cup games.
But despite the win, Nishino said nothing was decided yet. Once one accepts that the game is essentially about extending the limits of implausibility, all else makes sense. "However, it is just one win, three points".
Pekerman defended his strategy, which included subbing in attacking midfielder and 2014 Golden Boot victor James Rodriguez, who had been left out of the starting line-up due to muscle pain.
Yuya Osako's 73rd-minute header proved the difference on Tuesday, as Japan edged out 10-man Colombia 2-1 at Mordovia Arena.
Star player James Rodriguez was brought on for Colombia in the second half after not being deemed fit to start from the outset, and it seemed that his side may benefit despite the numerical disadvantage. Japan was obviously helped by an extremely early red card on Carlos Sánchez and a penalty goal from Shinji Kagawa, but the only thing that matters in this tournament is the result.
The Colombians bitterly protested but Kagawa drilled home the spot kick to put Japan ahead in the sixth minute. During the previous two World Cups, in 2002 and 2014, Russian Federation scored only six in total.
The captain believes Colombia has the resolve to survive again.
The pressure paid off as Quintero's low free-kick flew under Japan's wall and crept inside the post shortly before half-time.
As far as teams are concerned, David Ospina of Arsenal and Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea's Radamel Falcao will lead the line.