Japan milk 'fair play' system in wretched World Cup defeat to Poland

Yuya Osako Japan 2018 World Cup

Yuya Osako Japan 2018 World Cup

In a parallel Group H game played in the Volga city of Samara, team Colombia beat Senegal also with the score of 1-0, meaning that the Colombian team finished the group stage in the top spot.

He said: "I know the Poland team is full of good players starting with Lewandowski".

When Bednarek scored, Japan were facing elimination. But the Japanese still had more of the chances in the first half.

Fair play, a newly implemented tiebreaker in the group stage of the world's biggest soccer tournament, was put into use for the first time Thursday and Japan came out as the beneficiary.

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.

Conditions and context conspired to rob Volgograd of a fitting end to its World Cup hosting duties on Thursday, as the final match to be played in the city saw Japan advance to the round of 16 despite losing to eliminated Poland.

Nishino made six changes to the starting lineup ahead of the match, saying some of his players were tired. "We must go into the game with the aim of getting all three points and [focusing] our performance", Japan captain, Makoto Hasebe said.

Japan at least drew encouragement from their first sight of goal and Yoshinori Muto's drive forced Lukasz Fabianski to parry, before the goalkeeper smothered a tame Gotoku Sakai effort. The Japanese keeper did well to get across his line and claw the ball away.

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Akira Nishino's call to change his Japan team nearly backfired as they progressed on fair play after a 1-0 defeat to Poland.

We have invested a lot to be here in Russian Federation during this World Cup and we had much greater expectations of ourselves.

Japan faces Group G victor Belgium on Monday in Rostov-on-Don. Nor has deciding the position in groups on fair play proved popular.

In the end, Japan's time wasting paid off as managed to safely hold onto the ball and not concede any fouls or goals.

If they succeed they will be the first Asian team to reach the second stage of the tournament since they did so in 2010 in South Africa.

A total of 32 national football teams entered the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is held in 11 cities across Russian Federation between June 14 and July 15, and only 16 of them proceeded to the knockout stage.

Japan have failed to score in five of their past six World Cup games against European opponents (W1 D2 L3) - their only goals coming in a 3-1 victory over Denmark in 2010.

In fact, it was Poland who came closer to scoring the game's second goal as Lewandowski spurned his only chance of the match so far, appearing to lose his footing somewhat as he fired over the bar from close range. "It was everything we don't want to see in the World Cup".

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