Japan booed off after losing to Poland but reaching last 16

Japan booed off after losing to Poland but reaching last 16

Japan booed off after losing to Poland but reaching last 16

If Japan can put in a similar showing against a struggling Poland, they have an excellent chance of at least securing the point they need.

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.

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.

But the "fair play" suggestion been met with disdain by football fans after Japan clearly stopped trying to play in the final stages of their 1-0 loss to Poland.

We did not go for victory, but we just relied on the other match. Keisuke Honda has been involved in 7 of Japan's last 10 World Cup goals.

The Polish will do everything they can to make life hard for Japan, as Robert Lewandowski, the leading marksman in European qualification, attempts to score his first goal at Russian Federation 2018. I forced my players to do what I said.

With two fewer yellow cards, Japan's tally of minus-four points was two better than Senegal, who may feel aggrieved at being sent home for a reason other than the quality of their football.

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.

Still, Japanese fans were left toasting goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, who in the first half made a spectacular save that denied Kamil Grosicki's header and also prevented a Japanese own goal after the break.

Poland appeared uninterested in pushing forward too, apparently content with registering their sole win at Russian Federation 2018 but the ending to the game left a unusual taste in the mouth of its audience.

His cleverly directed header looked destined for the bottom corner until Kawashima made up huge amounts of ground to claw it to safety with a right hand at full stretch.

Their main man, striker Robert Lewandowski, powered in 16 goals during the qualifiers - but failed to score in Russian Federation, ending his miserable tournament with another spurned chance against Japan.

Akira Nishino's team finished second in Group H and will face Group G winners Belgium in the first knockout round.

Senegal, however, has become the first victim of the new tiebreaker.

Poland coach Adam Nawalka said his team proved they were not quitters by winning their first game at a World Cup since they beat Costa Rica in Germany in 2006.

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