Fair Play rule sees Japan progress to World Cup knockouts

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima punches the ball into the path of Senegal forward Sadio Mane

Japan vs Poland Live Score, FIFA World Cup Live Streaming: Japan to take on Poland.

The outcome saves Japan manager Akira Nishino from at least some questions about his risky decision to start the game with a team showing six changes to the one that performed well in a gutsy 2-2 draw with Senegal in Ekaterinburg, and all four of his Russian Federation 2018 goalscorers on the bench.

Colombia will face the runner-up of Group G, which will be either England or Belgium.

Japan enters the day tied with Senegal atop the group table, with each on four points. Fair play - which was only introduced as a tiebreaker at this year's World Cup - was then used to split the pair, with Japan's four yellow cards beating Senegal's six.

Southampton defender Jan Bednarek's well-taken volley from Rafal Kurzawa's free-kick won the match for Poland, who had been eliminated before the game.

Yet, Hull City's Kamil Grosicki very almost gave the Polish supporters; rising above the close attention of the Japanese defenders to head an effort at Kawashima's goal. The Polish captain Robert Lewandowski is renowned as a world-class goalscorer for Bayern Munich but, as in the rest of Poland's sorry World Cup campaign, he was seeing little of the ball.

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Then came the goal all of Japan was dreading.

The Blue Samurai were enjoying the most of the possession in the early stages, while Shinji Okazaki threatened the Poland goal in the opening 10 minutes.

From that point, both teams closed up shop, much to the annoyance of the majority Russian crowd.

Nishino is wary about the fierce heat in Volgograd, with the temperature at kick-off around 37 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) and said he would choose his team based on who coped best with the cauldron-like conditions in training.

Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima keeps his place despite a howler for Senegal's first goal in the 2-2 draw and will captain the side. "It was hard for the bench and the players on the pitch to deal with the situation under the circumstances".

Nice guys don't necessarily finish last at the World Cup.

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