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Japan squeeze into last 16 on disciplinary rule

Japan squeeze into last 16 on disciplinary rule

Japan have only played Poland twice in the last 22 years, beating them 5-0 in February 1996 and 2-0 in March 2002, but they will be wary of the fact they have failed to score in four of their last World Cup games against European opposition.

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.

The remainder of the match was played out amid farcical scenes as Japan realised they would still go through by virtue of a better fair play record.

On a burning afternoon that saw several twists in the plot, Japan somehow set up a meeting with either Belgium or England by virtue of a goal scored 640km away in Samara and because they received two yellow cards fewer than Senegal.

Poland seemed utterly toothless, but still managed to take the lead through Jan Bednarek's volley from eight yards on a Rafal Kurzawa free kick floated over the top.

Poland's under-performing players, who have fallen at the first hurdle of the World Cup, need a psychological boost when they meet a buoyant Japan on Thursday, veteran midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski said.

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 big right hand at full stretch.




Carlos Sanchez is back in the lineup for Colombia after sitting out a match for a red card he got three minutes into Colombia's tournament-opening loss to Japan.

The final 20 minutes of the match was played out by Japanese defenders stroking uncontested passes, with Poland clearly content to head home with their first and only victory in the bag.

Russian Federation is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. Of course, we did not want to allow Poland to keep the winning score, we tried to attack.

Japan will play the winners of Group G - either England or Belgium - in Rostov-on-Don on Monday July 2. "Now we're playing the last match just for honor", Grosiki said.

The only time Federation Internationale de Football Association has ever drawn lots to break a tie in a World Cup group was at the 1990 edition in Italy, when Ireland and the Netherlands tied for second place in their group. The World Cup is such that these things happen. It was a freaky game where neither side looked deserving of a win, but it was Poland who would go home with a win while Samurai Blue barely get by. Poland have three points from three games and are in the fourth and final spot in the group.

SARANSK, Russia - Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef ensured their nation's World Cup slump wouldn't enter a fifth decade.

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