Friday, 19 April, 2019

Japan advances on fair play points despite loss to Poland

Yuya Osako Japan 2018 World Cup Getty Images
Cassandra Castillo | 28 June, 2018, 22:13

Despite Poland appearing lethargic in the opening frame, Nishino's decision came very close to backfiring when Southampton defender Jan Bednarek converted a Kurzawa free-kick with a deft touch of his left foot.

A Jan Bednarak goal was enough to claim Poland's first points at Russian Federation 2018 but the game ended in unusual circumstances as the Japanese, aware of the scoreline in the other group game between Colombia and Senegal, knew that as things stood they would qualify so instead of pursuing a late equalizer they withdrew into their own half and kept the ball amongst themselves.

Jan Bednarek has given Poland a 1-0 lead against Japan with a goal that could have big ramifications for the teams advancing from the knockout stage from Group H. The Japan squad needs a point to secure a spot in the next stage.

While Colombia have done surprisingly little to challenge Senegal in the pick of the games, Japan have Eiji Kawashima to thank for denying Poland what would amount to a memorable end to a forgettable World Cup.

Kawashima did it again in the second half to prevent what would have been Tomoaki Nakino own goal.

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Japan coach Akira Nishino made six changes including bringing in attacking pair Shinji Okazaki and Yoshinori Muto for his World Cup debut.

But the Japanese still had more of the chances in the first half. Japan needs to avoid defeat to make it to the round of 16.

Senegal were knocked out of the World Cup in the most cruel circumstances, with Japan progressing from Group H into the knockouts because they had two less yellow cards than Aliou Cissé's side.

Moments later Muto won possesion again outside the box and his fierce shot was parried out of harm's way by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, one of five changes in Poland's starting line-up.

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