World Cup 2018, Japan vs Poland Highlights: Japan Through To Last 16 Despite 0-1 Loss To Poland
FIFA World Cup 2018, Highlights, Japan vs Poland: Despite a 0-1 loss to Poland, Japan have qualified for the last 16 as they had 2 less yellow cards than Senegal -- fair play ground.
Japan and Poland were booed from the pitch in Volgograd after a farcical end to their final Group H match which saw the Blue Samurai qualify for the last 16 despite a 1-0 defeat. Japan went through by the slimmest of margins -- their fair play record -- after the last 10 minutes were played out like a training match as both sides settled for the result. They will meet either Belgium or England after reaching the knockout stage for the third time in their history. When Jan Bednarek scored his first international goal in the 60th minute for an already eliminated Poland, the score between Colombia and Senegal stood at 0-0 meaning Japan were going out. (Highlights: Japan vs Poland)
Highlights of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Japan vs Poland Group H match, straight from Volgograd Arena
21:25 IST: Thank you for joining us for the live blog.
21:23 IST: Despite the loss, Japan have qualified for the Round of 16 as Colombia beat Senegal 1-0.
21:22 IST: It is fulltime here at the Volgograd Arena. Poland beat Japan 1-0.
21:19 IST: Two minutes of added time.
21:14 IST: Last five minutes to go. Japan should be playing safe for now, if not draw.
21:09 IST: Last 10 minutes to go. It will interesting to see if any more goals are scored in either of the matches, how the dynamics of the Group H standings change.
21:07 IST: Meanwhile, Colombia, in the other match, have taken a 1-0 lead against Senegal. And as things stand JAPAN will qualify due to more fair play points than Senegal.
21:05 IST: 73rd minute -- Kamil Grosicki gets a long-ball and makes a run down the right flank, waits for Lewandowski to reach the box. However, a low cross in the box is struck high and far off the target by Lewandowski
20:58 IST: Half an hour remaining. Will Poland crush Japan's hopes or the Blue Samurai will find an equaliser?
20:50 IST: As things stands now, Japan will be crashing out of the tournament.
20:47 IST: 59th minute -- GOAL!! Jan Bednarek scores with a side-footed volley off a free-kick. Rafal Kurzawa curls the ball in towards the far post. Bednarek, running towards the goal, takes a small jump and puts the ball in the goal with a side-footed volley. | Japan 0-1 Poland
20:39 IST: Five minutes in to the second-half and the tempo of the game is same as it was before the break.
20:34 IST: The second-half of the Japan vs Poland Group H match starts | Japan 0-0 Poland.
20:16 IST: Japan vs Poland Group H match remains goalless at half-time.
20:15 IST: One minute of added time to the first-half.
20:10 IST: Five minutes of play left in the first-half. Both teams are trying hard to take an early lead. However, Japan are looking more confident and dangerous.
20:04 IST: 34th minute -- Japan have been brilliant on the counter. Asami tries a shot from a tight angle on the right side but is blocked by the Poland keeper. Luckily the ball ricochets off of him to his own teammate. Muto was lurking around. A fraction here and there would've seen Japan take the lead.
20:02 IST: 32nd minute -- Eiji Kawashami makes a brilliant goalline save as he denies Grosicki of a goal, who got in the line of the cross and his powerful header in palmed away by the keeper.
20:00 IST: 30 minutes in the Group H matches and it remains goalless. If things stay the same, Japan and Senegal will go through.
19:58 IST: 27th minute -- Hiroki Sakai provides a brilliant cross in the middle which is cleared by the Poland defence. Japan get a corner. Shibasaki curls the ball in and Bednarek clears it away.
19:52 IST: Japan get a free-kick, Takashi Usami curls the ball and Fabianski collects the ball without hassle.
19:50 IST: 20 minutes are up -- Japan have created multiple chances to score and take early lead but the Polish defenders remain vigilant.
19:43 IST: Japan have found their footing as they are easily penetrating the Polish defence with ease. Yoshinori Muto beats couple of defenders, shoots only for the Poland keeper Fabianski to block the shot.
19:42 IST: Sloppy pass from a Polish defender sees a Japanese player intercept and make a pass to Nagatomo on the left flank, who provides a low cross to Shinji Okazaki, who connects with a diving header but is miles off the target,
19:40 IST: 10 minutes are up -- Poland are pressing hard for an early lead. They survive a scare as Japan on the counter attack create a near chance for a goal.
19:35 IST: Zielinski makes a run with the ball down the right flank, crosses it to Lewandowski in the box, but the Japanese defenders clear the ball away.
19:30 IST: KICK-OFF! The match between Japan and Poland starts.
19:25 IST: Few minutes away from the start of the match. Stay tuned.
19:20 IST: Alright. Both teams are coming out of the tunnel and the national anthems will be sung.
19:15 IST: This is how the team formation looks like.
18:50 IST: The teams are here!
18:40 IST: The playing XI for Japan and Poland have been announced.
18:30 IST: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the match between Japan and Poland.
The Japan Football Association took a massive gamble to sack Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic in April following a string of poor performances and reports of friction with senior players. But it has paid off handsomely and the doubters have been silenced by Nishino's tightly-organised Japan playing with pace, guile and no little skill to remain undefeated at the top of Group H in Russia.
Indeed, the former AC Milan and CSKA Moscow striker Honda may not have been at the World Cup at all had Halilhodzic still been in charge, so poisonous had their relationship become. But the instantly recognisable bleach-blond, spiky-haired livewire has been born again as an impact substitute under Nishino. Honda, who now plays for Pachuca in Mexico, became the first Japanese player to score in three World Cups after he climbed off the bench to secure the 2-2 draw in Yekaterinburg.
It was very different last August when Honda had sat glumly on the bench as Japan secured their spot in Russia with a home win against Australia. Before leaving for Russia, the outspoken striker whose goals at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa shot him to fame, took the opportunity to stick the boot into Halilhodzic.
Past meetings between Japan and Poland give little clue as to Thursday's outcome at the Volgograd Arena. They have played just two friendlies with Japan winning both times, the last in 2002. Poland skipper Robert Lewandowski urged his team to salvage some pride after a sorry World Cup campaign saw them the first European side to be eliminated. The Poles came to Russia with high hopes of reaching the knockout phase for the first time since 1986, but a 3-0 defeat to Colombia confirmed their early exit after an opening 2-1 reverse against Senegal.