Published: Mon, June 25, 2018
Sports | By Angie Alvarado

Japan players expect tough battle against Senegal following opening win

Japan players expect tough battle against Senegal following opening win

Kane became the third England player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup game following Geoff Hurst in the 1966 final and Gary Lineker against Poland in the 1986 tournament.

And while Aguilar acknowledges Colombia have no choice but to win, he is adamant Pekerman's side are calm and are not dealing with any "drama".

Senegal, who made an impressive debut to the World Cup in 2002, when they made a successful run to the quarter final, beating defending champions France in the process, are hoping to surpass that record.

It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russian Federation in large numbers.

This has been a World Cup filled with bookies' favourites making early missteps.

Japanese players all expect a tough game against their next opponents Senegal following the opening win. A draw in Kazan on Sunday would leave both still in the hunt for a round-of-16 spot, but really only a win would do it for two teams that were favorites to finish in first and second of the group.

Senegal's victory came at a point when Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay, Morocco fell by the same scoreline to Iran and Nigeria slumped 2-0 against Croatia, thereby putting question marks on their potentials, despite all having expatriate managers from Europe in charge.


There are those who may say Senegal were a touch lucky - an own goal and a disputed second goal because of a referee decision - but anyone who has played this game before knows that in football, you make your own luck.

It appeared to pay off when the unfancied Asians stunned 10-man Colombia 2-1 in their opener, and on 34 minutes they were level with Senegal when Takashi Inui bent the ball wonderfully into the bottom corner.

With Japan and Senegal both winning their opening games, victory for either would virtually seal a place in the last 16 in Russian Federation. "In the Senegal match, we did not show the aggression, we did not attack the rival as we should have".

Japan and Senegal have joined the likes of Mexico, which upset Germany, and Iceland, which held Argentina to a 1-1 draw.

Now as Senegal coach, he is bringing that same energy and vibrancy to the team, but also ensuring they are a lot more tactically adept and disciplined.

"When we do that, next time wherever we go we have a good reception, that is why we are doing it". Japan coach Akira Nishino said he plans to hound the star striker out of the game and is prepared to put three men on Mane if necessary. "We wanted to get the lead even though there was only a short period of time left". "Against Colombia. we will play differently and better". While Poland had ball possession, they were never able to do anything because of the shape and organisation of the Senegalese. The first member of Japan's royal family to visit Russian Federation in more than a century, Princess Hisako is likely again to attend Sunday's match.

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