Senegal can repeat 2002 WC success in 2018: Cisse

Senegal Japan underdogs aiming for a round of 16 spot

Japan can advance with a win or a draw, and perhaps even a loss. We don't have a World Cup every year.

Cisse, Senegal skipper in the country's run to the quarter-finals in 2002, hopes that Mane can be the difference, on what promises to be a nerve-wracking final round of matches on Thursday.

However, substitute Keisuke Honda restored parity for Japan six minutes after coming on, slotting in past two sprawling Senegalese defenders.

The ball bounced off the striker and into the net for his first goal at this tournament - cue raucous Senegal celebrations with Khadim N'Diaye racing the length of the pitch to join in.

Unfortunate to be 2-1 down on 71 minutes, Nishino made what turned out to be a masterstroke against Senegal.

"We have to be careful because they are a great team. We had fun out there", said current tournament top scorer Kane, calling his third "one of the luckiest goals of my life".

Senegal took the lead in the 11th minute when Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima punched a cross into Mane's leg and the ball bounced back over the line and in, before Inui's curled finish on 34 minutes meant the sides went in level at the break.

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The 29-year-old center back added: "One thing is clear and that is if we lose we (could) be going home to Japan".

"It was a game we could have won and I think there would have been a different outcome if I had scored a second (with his shot that hit the bar)", Kyodo News quoted Inui as saying.

While Senegal remain in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages, a win would have assured Cisse's side of their place in the round of 16 and they will surely view this result as a missed opportunity given the way they dominated for much of the first half.

Videos posted on social media showed Japanese fans cleaning up after themselves in the wake of their win over Colombia, picking up litter under the seats in their section of the stadium.

Clips of the coach's fist-pumping goal celebrations while directing a smouldering gaze at the camera during Senegal's opening game against Poland have gone viral, attracting the attention of admirers around the world.

Princess Hisako of Takamada is the first member of Japan's royal family to visit Russian Federation in more than a century.

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