Japan Satisfied With 1-0 Defeat to Poland - Head Coach

Sunday, 01 Jul, 2018

"I'm not too happy about this but ..."

"But life goes on and the match tomorrow will be of great significance, particularly from a mental point of view because we need to demonstrate that we never give up as a team". I think we have to focus on getting three points rather than make calculations.

"It was just the situation that forced me to make the risky call and we decided not to go on the offence and rely on the other match". Poland ended the tournament with a victory.

The African side were eliminated after their 1-0 defeat by Colombia despite finishing level with Japan on points, goal difference and goals scored.

With Japan now needing a goal to qualify for the next round Takashi Inui replaced Usami, but they should have fallen 2 behind when Lewandowski fired another Grosicki ball over in the 74th minute and the Hull City winger nearly forced Tomashi Makino to concede an own goal with another unsafe cross. Starting at this year's tournament, disciplinary records - known as fair play - were added by Federation Internationale de Football Association as a tiebreaker.

By losing their opening two group games, Poland became the first European side to exit the tournament, and they have now exited at the first hurdle in three successive appearances.

Nishino admitted that he sent on midfielder Makoto Hasebe for striker Yoshinori Muto in the 82nd minute specifically to give negative orders to his teammates - stop trying to score and do not commit any fouls.

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.

When Bednarek scored, Japan were facing elimination. Japan players spent the last minutes of the game passing each other the ball on their own side of the pitch with the crowd booing them.

As the game continued, it barely got above walking pace.

Abdulateef: I see nothing wrong with Japan qualifying on fair play, the rules are there and they are through because of it. The Japanese keeper did well to get across his line and claw the ball away.

Robert Lewandowski then had a chance to put Poland ahead 2-0 - a result that would have allowed Senegal to advance - in the 74th minute after a swift counterattack but his effort flew over the bar.

GOAL - TUNISIA - 1-1 - Really well worked equalizer. Kawashima's spot in the starting lineup had been in doubt after coach Akira Nishino said he would assess the goalkeeper position after the 2-2 draw.

If they succeed they will be the first Asian team to reach the second stage of the tournament since they did so in 2010 in South Africa. Belgium appeared to be a reluctant victor.

"We might have given our best to come through the group stage, but we have not given everything".

They have kept a clean sheet at the World Cup for the first time since winning 1-0 against Portugal in 1986.

They await the results of the Belgium-England game later tonight as they will face the victor of Group G in the round of 16.

"I don't think you can plan the ideal scenario", Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said. Poland has already been eliminated. Belgium made nine changes and still won.