Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sports | By Angie Alvarado

FIFA World Cup Disciplined Japan advances to round 16 2 hours ago

FIFA World Cup Disciplined Japan advances to round 16 2 hours ago

Jun 29, 2018-Japan lost 1-0 in a tiresome game with Poland on Thursday but still became the only Asian side to qualify for the World Cup's last 16 - and the first team ever to progress thanks to FIFA's new disciplinary tie-breaker rule.

Senegal and Japan both finished on four points having been handed their first defeats of the tournament Thursday, and with the same goal difference and number of goals scored.

Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima keeps his place despite a howler for Senegal's first goal in the 2-2 draw and will captain the side.

As the game continued, it barely got above walking pace.

With nothing to play for, Polish coach Adam Nawałka will be looking to make quite a lot of changes to his starting XI with Lukasz Fabianski expected to make his first start of this World Cup and Kamil Glik being restored in defence.

Japan has a tough final group-stage game against Poland, which despite being 0-2-0 through two games still is a quality opponent with a world-class striker in Robert Lewandowski.

Intrigued by a commercial promotion for the game that was clearly influenced by "Monday Night Football", the family attends the match.

Japan were creating opportunities on set-plays for most of the half, but the Poles' aerial strength was too much for the Japanese. Scampering across his goal before diving, Kawashima clawed the ball to safety just before it had crossed the line.

With 20 minutes to play, Poland launched a quick counter attack and Robert Lewandowski was handed a chance to kill the game off, but blasted his shot over the bar. "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". Although Japan didn't technically break any rules, the way in which they quite deliberately made no attempt to change the result of the game didn't seem very "fair" for a team going through on the grounds of fair play.

"I don't know if the regulation is cruel or not, but I can't ask my players to go on the pitch in order to avoid yellow cards, " Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said. This is how you play football.

Japan has reached the knockout round at the World Cup three times in the last five tournaments.

In their only previous meeting with an Asian team in the World Cup, Poland lost 2-0 against South Korea in 2002.

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