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Japan advances on fair play points despite loss to Poland

Japan advances on fair play points despite loss to Poland

They are joined in the last 16 by Japan, who go through despite losing 1-0 to rock-bottom Poland in Volgograd. The manager changed six players from the team that started both previous games against Colombia and Senegal - including all front four attackers - and the decision nearly backfired spectacularly.

But Nishino's squad, which was the lowest-ranked and considered the longest shot to advance from the group, was emboldened by its opening 2-1 win over Colombia and now is aiming to advance with a bigger win over winless Poland, who are already out of contention.

"My decision was to rely on the other match", Nishino said after full-time.

'I suppose it was a little bit regrettable but this is the World Cup and sometimes this happens, ' added Nishino.

"I'm sure Poland would like to play for their pride and Lewandowski is a world class marksman, and every time he comes out he wants to score", said Nishino.

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. And we went through. In two losses, Poland has only scored a single goal and the Bayern Munich striker is still trying to make an impact at the World Cup.

More news: Brazil face Costa Rica, Iceland and Serbia in action

Both Japan and Senegal finished the group phase with four points, had the same goal difference and the same amount of goals scored.

From a deep position, Rafal Kurzawa curled a free kick towards the back post and Bednarek was waiting to volley the ball inside the near post from six yards out for his first worldwide goal.

Nawalka said: 'After our first two matches we somehow had to deal with a lot of justified criticism and that is why it was clear the emotional level of this game was really high.

Poland, though, came closest to taking the lead when in the 32nd minute, goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima did well to keep a well-guided header from Kamil Grosicki out. The South Americans will face the Group G runners-up, England or Belgium, in the last 16.

Japan's Gaku Shibasaki, left, and Poland's Jacek Goralski fight for the ball during the group H match between Japan and Poland at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia, on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Scampering across his goal before diving, Kawashima clawed the ball to safety just before it had crossed the line.


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