Published: Fri, June 29, 2018
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Japan advance on fair play points despite loss to Poland

Japan advance on fair play points despite loss to Poland

"My decision was to rely on the other match, " Japan coach Akira Nishino said.

"The situation forced me to make this decision".

As the game continued, it barely got above walking pace, prompting many inside the Volgograd Arena to show their displeasure by whistling and booing. Muto was one of six changes to the starting lineup for the match.

Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima kept his place for the Samurai Blue despite a howler for Senegal's first goal in the 2-2 draw and repaid Nishino's faith with a wondrous save to keep the score goalless at half-time.

Among the Premier League stars on the national team rosters for this match are four of last season's top six goal scorers - England captainHarry Kane (Tottenham, second with 30 goals) and compatriots Jamie Vardy (Leicester City, fourth with 20 goals), and Raheem Sterling(Manchester City, fifth with 18 goals), and Belgium's Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United, sixth with 16 goals).

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

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The African side were eliminated after their 1-0 defeat by Colombia despite finishing level with Japan on points, goal difference and goals scored. Everything seemed set for Japan to progress to the knockout stages - that is, until Jan Bednarek popped up completely unmarked to volley home from a free kick and put Poland in front. All four of Japan's scorers in the previous two games were left on the bench, but the Japanese still had more of the chances in the first half.

"We are where we are and we know that we have failed the Polish football fans and ourselves", coach Adam Nawalka said.

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.

Japan have kept just one clean sheet since the end of August a year ago and that was against North Korea in December, so it's clear they can be got at-Lewandowski may have more joy here than in previous matches. This is how you play football. The Senegalese side couldn't land the killer blow, and as full time blew in that game, Japan's spot in the Round of 16 was confirmed.

Poland, for the third straight World Cup that it has competed in, lost its first two group matches and then won its third.

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