Japan advance on fair play points despite loss to Poland

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima punches the ball into the path of Senegal forward Sadio Mane

A draw against Poland will guarantee the Samurai Blue qualification from the group stage, while depending on other results, even defeat at the Volgograd Arena could grant the Japanese a spot in the Round of 16.

The Polish will do everything they can to make life hard for Japan, as Robert Lewandowski, the leading marksman in European qualification, attempts to score his first goal at Russian Federation 2018.

If Poland fail to win against Japan, it will be their worst ever performance at a World Cup. The scoreline, coupled with the 1-0 advantage that Colombia had versus Senegal, meant that the African side were tied Japan in the standings on four points, both with four goals scored and four goals conceded. I forced my players to do what I said.

"I decided that I was going to rely on the other match's result", he told reporters. We were not happy about the situation of course.

"The manner in which the team qualified was not the initial goal", said Nishino.

Japan then focused on playing for possession while Poland, who were already eliminated, appeared unconcerned about snatching back the ball and trying to extend their lead, both teams drawing flak from some sections of the crowd.

After much speculation about his place in the team, Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima proved his worth in spectacular fashion in the first half, just keeping out a free header from Kamil Grosicki.

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Fans pay big money to attend World Cup matches for the experience and to be entertained but neither Japan and Poland cared about that on this occasion.

Their main man, striker Robert Lewandowski, powered in 16 goals during the qualifiers - but failed to score a single one in Russian Federation, ending his miserable tournament with another spurned chance against Japan.

Senegal, however, has become the first victim of the new tiebreaker.

Despite farcical scenes in which Japan moved the ball back and forth on halfway while a Polish player was down injured, it paid off as Senegal could not rescue a point, sending the fortunate Samurai Blue through.

Nawalka said: 'After our first two matches we somehow had to deal with a lot of justified criticism and that is why it was clear the emotional level of this game was really high.

Poland, for the third straight World Cup that it has competed in, lost its first two group matches and then won its third.

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