Japan survive despite loss to Poland

Elena Summers
June 30, 2018

Japan responded with Takashi Usami having a shot from an acute angle pushed away by Fabianski but the teams went into half time to a chorus of whistles, which appeared to be from the Poland fans.

Japanese football fans on Friday debated their team's controversial tactics at the World Cup, with most accepting them as an inevitable outcome of the tournament's tiebreaking format.

Colombia advance to the next round as group winners following their 1-0 victory over Senegal.

Japan and Senegal ended up tied for second in points, goal differential, goals for and goals against. I forced my players to do what I said.

'I suppose it was a little bit regrettable but this is the World Cup and sometimes this happens, ' added Nishino. However, both players and coach alike are united in their conviction not to set out for a draw.

With Poland already eliminated and Colombia booking their ticket with the defeat of Senegal, it came down to a technicality to decide the runners-up in the group. Japan had four yellow cards, Senegal had six. He beat his marker at the far post and volleyed in a swerving free kick from Rafal Kurzawa.

The Eastern Europeans did indeed prove more combative than the Japanese, but Japan's goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima made a spectacular save that denied Kamil Grosicki's header right before it crossed the line in the first half.

In the other Group G match, Tunisia finished with a 2-1 win over Panama to claim third place, leaving the Central Americans bottom with no points and a minus-nine goal difference.

Then, with nine minutes remaining, Tomoaki Makino - in an attempt to intercept another unsafe cross by Grosicki - could only send the ball towards his own goal but Kawashima reacted well to make the save.

So Japan goes through and next plays the victor of Group G on Monday, while Colombia will face the Group G runner-up Tuesday.

With 20 minutes to play, Poland launched a quick counter attack and Robert Lewandowski was handed a chance to kill the game off, but blasted his shot over the bar.

In their only previous meeting with an Asian team in the World Cup, Poland lost 2-0 against South Korea in 2002. "Do not go for any high risks.' I told him not to concede any yellow cards, go 4-1-4-1, defensive, and then I told him to tell the team to 'stay put".

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