01 July, 2018
Japan has not performed that well at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as goal-keeper Eiji Kawashima has made costly errors in consecutive matches. This kind of football does exist and it's the first time I have felt this way.
Japan advanced to the knockout round at the World Cup on a tiebreaker, fewer yellow cards than Senegal.
Once Colombia had scored in Samara, Japan knew it had done enough to advance even though it was losing late in its match. The Japanese players slowed play down to nearly nothing, softly passing the ball back and forth in little triangles in their own end to waste time. "However, it was a very tough and risky situation", Nishino told reporters.
"I'm not too happy about this but I forced my players to do what I said", Nishino added. We need to make our sprints when they will be effective. "I don't think we can go into the game looking for a draw", he said, explaining that a win would help continue their momentum for a last-16 tie against Belgium or England.
The fans at the Volgograd Arena showed their displeasure by booing and whistling loudly over the final minutes.
They will be favorites against Poland, who have lost their two matches and have no chance of reaching the last 16.
With Japan, Senegal and Colombia locked in a three-way battle to emerge from the group, only pointless Poland have no chance, something they did not anticipate after easing to qualification ahead of Denmark.
With Japan now needing a goal to qualify for the next round Takashi Inui replaced Usami, but they should have fallen 2 behind when Lewandowski fired another Grosicki ball over in the 74th minute and the Hull City winger nearly forced Tomashi Makino to concede an own goal with another unsafe cross.
While the Samurai Blue lost, the tiebreaker between them and Senegal went down to fair play points.
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Japan nearly paid the price for resting players against Poland and only went through because Senegal had more yellow cards. Senegal committed 44 fouls.
Jan Bednarek's goal in the 59th minute gave Poland a much-needed win in their last group game against Japan on Thursday in Volgograd, Russia. Rafal Kurzawa lofted a great free-kick into the box, which was turned home by the outstretched foot of Bednarek which piled the pressure on Japan.
Carlos Sanchez is back in the lineup for Colombia after sitting out a match for a red card he got three minutes into Colombia's tournament-opening loss to Japan.
Japan is at the top with four points in Group H. Japan is now on four points and will advance to the round of 16 with a win or a draw. Scampering across his goal before diving, Kawashima clawed the ball to safety just before it had crossed the line. Of course, we did not want to allow Poland to keep the winning score, we tried to attack.
Although Belgium gets what appears to be an easier match against Japan in the round of 16, it could get trickier with a victory in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.
"There is no doubt that our next opponents are going to be stronger than us", Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo said before the foe was known.
That goal was cancelled out by Kendall Waston's header in the 56th minute, the central Americans' first goal of the tournament.But Switzerland will be left counting the cost after yellow cards for experienced defenders Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer mean they will miss the game against Sweden.
The scenes brought back memories of West Germany's controversial 1-0 win over Austria in the 1982 World Cup, although that had been contrived to eliminate Algeria and send both teams through. "It worked against us".