Japan survives despite loss to Poland

30 June, 2018, 20:59 | Author: Isabel Grant
  • 1:22                                            Get the latest news from day 14 of the World Cup in Russia including an update on the health of Diego Maradona

If Poland fail to win against Japan, it will be their worst ever performance at a World Cup.

Rotating his squad ahead of their final group tie, Nishino's Japan never truly found their rhythm against a Poland side playing with a greater degree of freedom, however, and fell behind early on in the second-half.

Japan took the back door into the World Cup round of 16 on Thursday, losing 1-0 to Poland but progressing due to a Colombia win over Senegal and the Federation Internationale de Football Association fair play points system favoring the Samurai Blue. The coach Akira Nishino will probably start the same line-up as in the previous two matches.

"I chose to keep the status quo in our game, and rely instead on the other result. It's the World Cup, and sometimes these things can't be avoided".

He said his decision to make six changes to his side was down to fatigue rather than any attempt to play for a draw.

The Japanese played out goalless draw at halftime and were looking like they were heading for the exit doors.

More news: Colombia vs Poland: Radamel Falcao scores as Colombia thrash Poland 3-0

Ryu Kuroda, a 30-year-old from Tokyo who was also in the Russian city, said he understood it as a tactic but that he "wanted to see Japan score".

Senegal's six yellow cards to Japan's four ultimately cost the African side, which exits Russian Federation in disappointing circumstances.

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.

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

That worked in Japan's favour despite their loss, with Nishino breathing a sigh of relief as they became the only Asian side to progress to the knockout stage after a nail-biting end to Group F. Colombia, meanwhile, ended the day as group winners.

They were outclassed by Colombia in their last game, though Japan perhaps only secured three points against Los Cafeteros because they had a one-man advantage for virtually the entire match following Carlos Sanchez's red card in the third minute. "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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